A volunteer inspects a body of killed person on a street in the town of Bucha
A volunteer inspects a body of killed person on a street in the town of Bucha REUTERS/Oleksandr Ratushniak

Israeli Finance Minister Avidgor Liberman on Monday downplayed Ukraine’s claims that Russian troops had slaughtered hundreds of civilians near Kyiv.

Speaking with Galei Tzahal Monday morning, Liberman said that while the images from the war zone were unnerving, both sides have accused the other of atrocities.

“There are disturbing photographs from there, and we all condemn war crimes,” said Liberman. “But there are accusations in both directions. The Russians accuse the Ukrainians. There is a war going on, and we need to maintain Israel’s moral position on the one hand, and its interests on the other.”

Liberman’s comments drew harsh criticism from Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel, Yevgen Korniychuk, who called on Liberman to visit Bucha, a Kyiv suburb where hundreds of bodies have been recovered following the departure of Russian soldiers, to see the evidence for himself.

“I invite Avidgor Liberman to come to Ukraine. We will take him in a convoy to Bucha and to other places so he can see for himself the bodies and meet the women who were raped. Maybe then he will know what happened,” Korniychuk told Walla.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday accused Russia of committing genocide in Ukraine amid reports that Russian forces were leaving brutalized bodies and widespread destruction in their wake as they withdrew from the Kyiv region.

Speaking to CBS’ “Face the Nation”, Zelenskyy said, “Indeed, this is genocide — the elimination of the whole nation and the people.”

Germany, France, Britain, the US, and the European Union condemned Russia following the discoveries, with France, Britain, and Germany calling for a war crimes investigation.