Canada summons Russian envoy to show Bucha images

AFP , Wednesday 6 Apr 2022

Canada summoned Russia's ambassador on Wednesday to show him images of "egregious" killings in Bucha, outside Kyiv, while petitioning the International Criminal Court to expedite a war crimes investigation.

Oleg Stepanov
Russian envoy to Canada Oleg Stepanov. YouTube

Speaking in Brussels ahead of a NATO meeting, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said she "instructed my deputy minister to summon the Russian ambassador in Ottawa to make sure that he is presented with the images of what happened in Bucha."

Ukrainian officials say hundreds of civilians were found dead in areas vacated by Russian troops, and images of bodies in the streets sparked global outrage. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the killings as "war crimes" and "genocide."

The Kremlin has denied the accusations of mass killings 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.

Joly also said more sanctions against Russia are coming that, along with weaponry sent to Ukraine, would strengthen Kyiv's hand in negotiations with Moscow and on the battlefield.

"Our goal is to suffocate the Russian regime," she said.

Ottawa has sent Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigators to the International Criminal Court to help gather evidence of alleged Russian war crimes.

Joly said the specialized police unit was sent "to make sure that the investigation is ongoing and ongoing fast."

Meanwhile, as allies expelled more than 200 Russian envoys and staff this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was hesitant to follow suit.

"I am just not sure the symbolic gesture of excluding Russian diplomats from what they are doing in Canada is worth the cost of losing our diplomats in Moscow," Trudeau said in Ottawa.

"We know that Russian diplomats in Canada are not being helpful. They are spreading disinformation. They are pushing pro-Putin propaganda in a time of conflict and war," he said.

"We have to weigh the negative of that against the positive of having extraordinary Canadians in Moscow who are giving us feedback on what the Russian people are doing."

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