Army not targeting civilians, Russia says — RT Russia and the former Soviet Union

Russian troops in Ukraine only attack military targets, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday, commenting on news that the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague would launch an investigation into possible war crimes in Ukraine.

An ICC prosecutor said on Monday that there was “a reasonable basis to believe that the alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity” had been committed in Ukraine. Charges against Russia have been filed with the ICC by Kyiv.

Peskov says Moscow “categorically refused” allegations made against it by Ukraine, including new allegations that Russian troops used cluster munitions and thermobaric weapons banned in Ukraine. The Russian official scored such claims “hoaxes”.

Russian troops “do not attack civilian installations or residential areas”, Peskov added, reiterating previous statements to this effect from the Russian Defense Ministry.

The official said he could not comment on the losses suffered by Russian forces in Ukraine, but noted that the heads of some Russian regions, who confirmed the losses suffered by soldiers in their provinces, had not need permission from the central government to do so.

Moscow continues to recognize Volodymyr Zelensky as Ukraine’s legitimate president, Peskov confirmed to reporters. The Ukrainian leader “could order the troops to lay down their arms, and there would be no casualties”, he suggested.

ICC to investigate possible war crimes in Ukraine

Asked about Ukraine’s status after the invasion and what Russia would expect from its future elections, Peskov said the issue had nothing to do with the Russian government.

“The Kremlin cannot play a role in holding elections in Ukraine. It is a foreign country. he said.

Peskov lamented Western attempts to pressure Russia over its attack on Ukraine, saying the United States had instilled in its European allies Washington’s longstanding taste for illegal restrictions. The practice “spread across Europe like an infection” he remarked. Moscow will not bow to pressure, he said, adding that Russia views retaliatory policies as temporary.

“In time, leaders will rise in the EU who have a broad vision and realize that they have to grow with our nation. We will work with this potential in mind,” he said.

Russia launched its offensive in Ukraine last week, saying it was partly an operation to defend the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk from Ukrainian attacks and partly a preemptive measure aimed at to reverse NATO’s creeping expansion in the country.

The United States and its allies have responded with a series of sanctions and restrictions aimed at crippling the Russian economy as well as increasing arms deliveries to Ukraine. Kiev and its foreign backers say Russia is waging an unprovoked war against its neighbor.

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