Bucha massacre: a reminder of UN failure

Bucha City is a typical case of how modern warfare has become a reason to commit genocide and get away with it

Dr Muhammad Ali Ehsan April 21, 2024
The author is postdoctoral scholar at the International Affairs Department of Kazan Federal University (KFU) Russia


America’s hypocrisy and double standards as a global hegemon once again came to lime light when on 19 April 2024 it vetoed a UNSC resolution on Palestinian statehood. But looking at how two of the US allies (the UK and Switzerland) abstained and three others (France, Japan and South Korea) supported the resolution tells us that both the US and Israel are losing global credibility and support on all matters on which it takes an immoral stand.

The UNSC was told by US Deputy Ambassador Robert Woods that the veto does not reflect opposition to Palestinian statehood but is an acknowledgement that it will only come from direct negotiations between the parties. Can the US take a similar position on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, allowing and facilitating Russia and Ukraine to negotiate peace instead of promoting war? Why did it derail the Istanbul peace process right at the outbreak of the conflict in February-March 2022? The US used propaganda to affect the Istanbul peace process by negatively portraying Russia as an evil state in the case of Bucha massacre in which over 500 people were killed with hands tied, blindfolded and strewn across the streets and parks of Bucha. Can the world expect the UN to carry out an impartial investigation of over 34,000 innocent Palestinians killed in Gaza? The world must know what the UN failed to do in Bucha City so that it has no hope of what the UN may do for Palestine.

Unless an impartial investigation is carried out on the killing of innocent people in Bucha City, the world will never know who is to be blamed for this massacre. It is important for the world not only to understand the circumstances that led to this murderous act but also understand the position that both Russia and Ukraine have taken on the matter. What is being brought forward through this writing is the consistent position that the Russian government has taken on the matter. The Bucha City massacre was orchestrated by powers that needed to support their nefarious designs of painting Russia as an immoral fighting force to accuse it of human rights violations, levy sanctions on it and prepare the world to fight a war against a country that had to be projected as an evil empire. Since the US, NATO and allies have achieved all these war aims, the Bucha City massacre has disappeared from the world headlines and it is in this context that the world must understand how belligerents in the modern warfare is the use of self-orchestrated tragic incidents to twist and turn the world opinion and to wage unnecessary wars. The US, NATO and allies have a history of fighting unnecessary wars based on false information the US fed to the world. The classic example of this is its aggression against Iraq on false charges of possessing WMD. Therefore, it is the moral responsibility of the world not to let go of any such matter that needs global attention and investigation and the Bucha City massacre is clearly one such matter in an ongoing war that the West has imposed on the world.

Bucha City is a typical case of how modern warfare has become a reason to commit genocide and get away with it. Getting away is through the process of pinning the blame on the opponent. Clashes took place between the Ukrainian and Russian forces right at the commencement of special military operations in February 2022. However, the Russian forces took the control of the city in early March 2022. Since peace talks in Istanbul were underway and Russians wanted to demonstrate a goodwill gesture, they announced the withdrawal of their forces from the city on 29 March 2022.

Ironically, while the Russian troops occupied the city, there was no disruption of communication activity in the city and cellular communication was active and the internet was being used. No Bucha City resident recorded or uploaded footage of any actions of the Russian military against the people. Even the Mayor, A Fedrouk, during his speech on 31 March 2022 confirmed this and had nothing to say on the alleged story of the Bucha City residents being shot on the streets by Russian forces.

The first video footage of the dead people spread around the city went on air after the Ukrainian Armed Forces occupied the city on 1 April 2022. Later it was picked by the foreign media to become a global story in which the western propaganda about the human rights atrocities by Russian forces against the residents of Bucha City were unleashed. To settle this matter, it was important to conduct a forensic examination of the bodies. On 24 April 2022, British newspaper, The Guardian, published the first results of the forensic examination in which it was concluded that the people died on being hit by the fragments of artillery shells of 122mm that fit the D-30 Howitzers which are in service with the Ukrainian Artillery. The evidence clearly proved the involvement of Ukrainian and not Russian forces in the killing.

Russian took a consistent position that a UN body could investigate the matter. It even requested a special UNSC meeting on the matter on 4 April 2022 but unfortunately Britain that chaired the Council at that time blocked the Russian initiative. If the special meeting was allowed, Russia would have explained to the world from the global platform that the Bucha massacre was deliberately planned with the sole purpose of effecting a negative influence and disrupting the continuation of Russian-Ukrainian negotiations in Istanbul. This was also done to create a negative image of Russia and paint it as an immoral occupying force so that the West could sell it to the world to help it execute the already planned expulsion of the Russian diplomats and imposition of sanctions on Russia.

A special UNSC meeting was however organised on 5 April 2022 during which most of the members called for an independent investigation of the matter. Sadly, no such investigation has been conducted and even there is no reliable list of people allegedly murdered and whose bodies were laid out in Bucha City. For the last two years, Russia has also repeatedly requested the UN to intervene in the matter but to no avail. Russian requests have been forwarded to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk. Both organisations have been requested to correctly establish the circumstances that have led to these unfortunate deaths; formulate a credible and official list of the victims; and do everything possible to ensure an impartial investigation of the subject; and make the truth of the matter public.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2024.

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