Putin calls situation in Ukrainian town of Bucha 'fake'

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Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, who has been awarded with the Order of Merit for the Fatherland (3d class), at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Amur Region, Russia April 12, 2022. Sputnik/Evgeny Biyatov/Kremlin via REUTERS

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April 12 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday said that images and footage of dead bodies strewn across the Ukrainian town of Bucha were fake.

Speaking at a televised news conference after talks with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko, Putin compared Ukrainian allegations that Russian servicemen executed civilians in Bucha to what he said was the staging by the West of a chemical weapons attack in Syria aimed at incriminating Bashar al-Assad.

"It's the same kind of fake in Bucha," Putin said.

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Ukraine has accused the Russian military of executing residents of Bucha, a town outside the capital Kyiv that Russian troops had occupied for several weeks before withdrawing. Western countries have called for those responsible for the murder of civilians to be punished.

Russian authorities have accused Ukraine of staging the harrowing scene to derail peace talks and prompt the West to impose more sanctions against Moscow.

Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it called a special operation to degrade its southern neighbour's military capabilities and root out people it called dangerous nationalists.

Ukrainian forces have mounted stiff resistance and the West has imposed sweeping sanctions in an effort to force Russia to withdraw its forces.

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Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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