Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov has accused Russian troops of a massacre of civilians in the town of Bucha, as 340 bodies have been recovered, according to Ukrainian media reports.
Reznikov, on Facebook, threatened retaliation.
“This evil simply cannot go unpunished,’’ he said on Monday.
“Our intelligence is consistently identifying all invaders and killers,’’ Reznikov wrote, adding that each of them will get what they deserve in their own time.
Images of residents’ bodies, which were discovered after Russian troops withdrew from the area near Kyiv, have prompted international horror, with Ukraine blaming the massacre on Russian troops.
Moscow denies the charge.
“We categorically reject all accusations,’’ Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Monday, according to the Interfax agency.
Reznikov compared the actions of the Russian army to those of the Nazi Schutzstaffel, a major paramilitary organisation under Adolf Hitler, during World War II.
Russia’s Investigative Committee said it was looking into what it calls the spread of “false reports’’ about the killings of civilians in Bucha.
Russia’s chief investigator, Alexander Bastrykin, instructed the agency to criminally assess the “provocation on the part of Ukraine,’’ the Investigative Committee said on Monday.
The investigation announced by Moscow is not about the incident itself, but about the spread of information about it.
Defamation of the Russian army is a punishable offence in the country.
French President Emmanuel Macron also called for members of the Russian army to be brought to justice for war crimes linked to the Bucha massacre.
“It is clear that today there is evidence of war crimes, it was the Russian army that was in Bucha,’’ Macron told France Inter on Monday.
“International justice must take care of this and those who committed these crimes will have to answer for them,’’ Macron said.
Russian troops shelled more Ukrainian army positions late on Sunday, including command centres and ammunition and fuel depots, Russian armed forces spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said.
Two Buk anti-aircraft system launchers were destroyed, according to Konashenkov.
One of the systems was located in Verkhnyotoretske in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.
Russian air defence also shot down six Ukrainian drones in the south of the country, he claimed, while three Ukrainian helicopters were hit at the Balovne airfield near Mykolaiv. (NAN)