Russia claims Ukraine peace talks 'dragging' after global outrage over Bucha massacre
Russia claimed on Wednesday that peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv were not progressing as rapidly as "it would like", as Ukrainian forces uncover more evidence of atrocities in Russian-occupied areas.
Russia accused the West of trying to 'derail' peace talks with Ukraine by fuelling "hysteria" over mounting evidence of war crimes by Moscow's forces following their retreat from the Kyiv region.
Kyiv and the West say there is evidence, including images and witness testimony gathered by Reuters and other independent media organisations, that Russia committed war crimes in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.
Hundreds of civilians could have been shot dead by Russian forces during their withdrawal from Kyiv's suburbs, while there are reports of torture, theft, and assault by retreating troops.
Moscow denies the charge and has called the allegations a "monstrous forgery".
"The only thing I can say is that work (on the talks) is continuing," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call when asked about the prospect of another round of negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv.
"There is a still a long road ahead. The work process is ongoing but it is dragging along way more than we would like."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday also alleged that war crime accusations were timed to derail the negotiating process.
Moscow has also been accused of using the peace talks to bolster frontlines ahead of a new offensive in Ukraine.
Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on February 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.