Russia has claimed accusations of atrocities from its troops in the town of Bucha were a ‘fake attack’ to undermine Moscow.
He alleged a ‘false version of events’ was being spread, urging western leaders to examine their own consciences before accusing Vladimir Putin of war crimes.
But satellite and media photos have emerged showing dozens of bodies scattered around Ukrainian towns, with one journalist reporting to have seen at least 20 in Bucha.
‘The other day another fake attack was carried out in Bucha after Russian servicemen left the area in accordance with the plans and agreements reached,’ Mr Lavrov claimed.
‘A fake attack was staged there a few days later, and it’s being fomented on all the channels and social media by Ukrainian representatives and their Western patrons.’
Bucha’s deputy mayor said some 50 of the residents found dead after Russia withdrew from the town on March 30 were victims of extrajudicial killings.
President Volodymyr Zelensky is among officials who have accused Russia of war crimes over its actions in Bucha, adding they would be seen by the world as genocide.
High-resolution satellite images – from Maxar Technologies and first reported by the New York Times – appear to show bodies lying in the open streets for almost two weeks before Russian troops withdrew.
An image from March 19 shows dark shapes dotted along the road in the exact locations where bodies were later retrieved by Ukrainian forces.
The photo has also been cross-referenced by publications with other media taken by witnesses and reporters on the ground.
It prompted world leaders to echo earlier accusations of Russia committing war crimes, among them prime minister Boris Johnson who said the UK was determined to hold those responsible to account.
‘No denial or disinformation from the Kremlin can hide what we all know to be the truth – Putin is desperate, his invasion is failing, and Ukraine’s resolve has never been stronger,’ a statement read.
Mr Lavrov said Russia will hold a conference address the accusations, and clarify its role in Bucha.
The foreign minister was not the only official to accuse Ukraine of staging scenes in Bucha, with another official from Russia’s defence ministry reiterating the sentiment.
‘Soldiers of the 72nd Ukrainian Main Centre for Psychological Operations conducted another filming of civilians allegedly killed by the violent actions of the Russian armed forces,’ spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said.
‘The footage is meant for distribution via Western media outlets. The Ukrainian special services organise similar events in Sumy, Konotop and other cities.’
Media outlets across Russia have further suggested Britain was specifically responsible for the images to have come out of Bucha.
A new state TV report echoed claims the massacre was staged and was ‘done by professionals, probably British’.
‘They know how to place the bodies correctly, do everything correctly, and make a nice picture for the West’s necrophiliac consciousness,’ political scientist Professor Gevorg Mirzayan said on a Channel 1 talkshow.
Anchor Vladimir Solovyov, of state-controlled Russia 1, reported it was a ‘provocation planned by the British’, while another of the channel’s host Olga Skabeyeva said a ‘flagrantly brutal provocation’ had been staged by ‘Ukrainian Nazis in Bucha’.
She added: ‘If you believe Ukrainian propaganda, the streets of the town were at the time scattered with dead bodies… they’re lying.
‘Everything that has been said and shown [about Bucha] is fake.’
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