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Russia-Ukraine war: Turkey calls for probe into 'massacre' of civilians in Bucha

Turkish foreign ministry says those responsible for 'appalling and sad' deaths should be held accountable
A Ukrainian woman attends a burial of her friend, who was found dead beside a building's basement in Bucha on 5 April 2022. (Reuters)

Turkey on Wednesday joined the global condemnation of the murder of civilians in the town of Bucha and other cities in Ukraine, and called for an independent investigation. 

"The images of the massacre, which have been published in the press from various regions including Bucha and Irpin near Kyiv, are appalling and sad for humanity," the foreign ministry said in a statement. 

Aside from a tweeted message by the Turkish embassy in Ukraine on Monday, it was the first official reaction from Turkey after dozens of bodies were found in mass graves or littering the streets near the Ukrainian capital over the weekend. 

The Mayor of Bucha Anatoly Fedoruk said on Saturday that more than 280 people had been buried in mass graves in the town.

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Russia's foreign ministry said on Monday that footage of the dead civilians in Bucha had been "ordered" by the United States as part of a plot to discredit Russia.

“Who are the masters of provocation? Of course the United States and Nato,” ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in an interview on state television.

“In this case, it seems to me that the fact that these statements [about Russia] were made in the first minutes after these materials appeared leaves no doubt as to who ‘ordered’ this story.”

Moscow has previously repeatedly denied Ukrainian claims that it has targeted civilians.

The Turkish foreign ministry said "targeting innocent civilians is unacceptable," in its statement on Wednesday. 

"It is our main expectation that the matter will be subject to an independent investigation and that those responsible will be identified and held accountable."

Turkey will continue to work to stop "such shameful scenes in the name of humanity," it added.

The Ukrainian army retook control of the key commuter town of Bucha outside Kyiv just a few days ago and said it had found dozens of bodies after Russian forces pulled out. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called the killings "war crimes" and "genocide" and western countries have ramped up sanctions against Russia in reaction to the deaths.

But Moscow has denied the accusations and claimed the images emerging from Bucha and other towns are fakes produced by Ukrainian forces, or that the deaths occurred after Russian soldiers pulled out.

Nato member Turkey, which has strong ties to both Russia and Ukraine, has been mediating for an end to the conflict. 

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