Russia to ask U.N. Security Council again to discuss Bucha 'provocations'

FILE PHOTO: The United Nations Security Council assembles for a meeting on humanitarian relief aid
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(Reuters) - Russia's foreign ministry said it would reiterate its request for the U.N. Security Council to meet on Monday over what Moscow called the "criminal provocations by Ukrainian soldiers and radicals" in the town of Bucha near Kyiv.

Britain's mission to the United Nations, which holds the presidency of the 15-member council for April, had said the Council would hold a scheduled discussion on Ukraine on Tuesday, and not meet on Monday as requested by Russia.

"Today Russia will again demand that the U.N. Security Council convene in connection with the criminal provocations of Ukrainian servicemen and radicals in this city," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova wrote on her Telegram channel.

Ukrainian authorities said on Sunday they were investigating possible war crimes by Russia after finding hundreds of bodies strewn around towns outside the capital Kyiv following Russian troops' withdrawal from the area.

The Russian defence ministry said the images distributed by Ukraine were "another staged performance by the Kyiv regime", and Russia's chief investigator on Monday ordered a probe on the basis that Ukraine had spread "deliberately false information" about Russian armed forces in Bucha.

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 on Russia in an effort to force it to withdraw its forces.

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Conor Humphries and Kevin Liffey)