Turkey on Wednesday joined the global condemnation of the murder of civilians in the town of Bucha and other cities in Ukraine, and called for an independent investigation.
“The images of the massacre, which have been published in the press from various regions including Bucha and Irpin near Kyiv, are appalling and sad for humanity,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Aside from a tweeted message by the Turkish embassy in Ukraine on Monday, it was the first official reaction from Turkey after dozens of bodies were found in mass graves or littering the streets near the Ukrainian capital over the weekend.
The Kremlin has rejected accusations that Russian forces were responsible for killing civilians near Kyiv and suggested images of corpses were “fakes”.
The Ukrainian army retook control of the key commuter town of Bucha outside Kyiv just a few days ago and said it had found dozens of bodies after Russian forces pulled out.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called the killings “war crimes” and “genocide” and Western countries have ramped up sanctions against Russia in reaction to the deaths.
But the Kremlin has denied the accusations and claimed the images emerging from Bucha and other towns are fakes produced by Ukrainian forces, or that the deaths occurred after Russian soldiers pulled out.
“Targeting innocent civilians is unacceptable,” the Turkish foreign ministry said.
“It is our main expectation that the matter will be subject to an independent investigation and that those responsible will be identified and held accountable.”
Turkey will continue to work to stop “such shameful scenes in the name of humanity,” it added.
NATO member Turkey, which has strong ties to both Russia and Ukraine, has been mediating for an end to the conflict.