Russian Foreign Ministry: Ukrainian Rights Commissioner Fired for Spreading Lies
01:19 GMT 01.06.2022 (Updated: 01:26 GMT 01.06.2022)
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Ukrainian Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights Lyudmila Denisova was dismissed for spreading misinformation, and Western media should retract articles using her claims as evidence of Russian crimes in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, the Ukrainian parliament decided to remove Denisova from her post in a no-confidence vote of 234-to-9 at the initiative of the ruling Sluga Narodu party. Zakharova said that the "detailed stories" of alleged sexual abuse that the human rights advocate had made up were shocking and required the attention of mental health professionals.
"Now the question is whether all those Western journalists and media, human rights and social activists who referred to Denisova and supported the bloody performances of the obsessed [Ukrainian activists] are going to publish rebuttals and apologize. Denisova is a perverse provocateur, and Western journalists worked as propagandists under her," Zakharova said on social media.
Human Rights Advocates & Reporters Call on Denisova to Stop Making Up Stories
Denisova had served as the human rights commissioner since March 2018. Since the start of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine in late February, the commissar gradually moved on to give detailed and rather colorful descriptions of alleged "atrocities" of Russian soldiers against the civilian population of Ukraine, including infants who were allegedly sexually abused.
Other competent authorities of Ukraine have noted on several occasions that there was not a single credible piece of evidence "yet" of Russian military personnel committing acts of sexual violence against women and children in the area of the special operation.
Despite accusations from Ukraine, top officials in Moscow said that Russian soldiers did not commit war crimes or sexual assaults during the special military operation.
According to the Ukrainian media reports
upon the commissioner's dismissal, last week a group of the country's female journalists and human rights activists publicly appealed to Denisova and called on her to correct the manner in which she was relaying information about alleged sexual crimes during the conflict, in particular, checking the facts before publication and avoiding excessive detailing of purported crimes.
The group emphasized that it was highly important for a person in Denisova's position to pay attention not only to the ethical nature of the wording but also to the justification and appropriateness of making shocking details public - disclosing, among other things, the names of alleged victims.
Denisova was also asked to concentrate on evidence and proof instead of stirring up the emotions of the audience.
Also on Tuesday, Ukrainian lawmaker Pavel Frolov explained that Denisova's dismissal was prompted by her repeated reports of sexual abuse and violence against Ukrainian children by Russian soldiers that were not supported by evidence, as well as the lack of active contribution to the organization of humanitarian corridors and the exchange of prisoners of war.
"[...] Ms. Denisova has hardly exercised her authority to organize humanitarian corridors, protect and exchange prisoners, counter the deportation of people and children from the occupied territories, and other human rights activities," he wrote in a Telegram post, adding that Denisova's duties were performed by deputy PM Irina Vereshchuk.
The lawmaker added that the parliament and the government were not pleased that Denisova had been spending so much time abroad since February 24, namely "in Davos, Vienna, Warsaw and other [parts of] warm, calm Western Europe."
In March, Tatyana Moskalkova, the Russian ombudswoman for human rights, called on Denisova to prevent the torture of POWs. Later, she claimed that she had received a response from her Ukrainian counterpart that "there can be no agreement," and the message was drawn up in "traditional insulting forms."
Earlier, the Russian Ministry of Defense, citing local residents, Ukrainian servicemen
and militants of nationalist battalions, reported that the Ukrainian authorities did not notify the population about the proposed humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of all civilians from the combat areas, as in the case of Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant, where, together with the militants, hundreds of them were kept
as actual hostages.
The dismissed Denisova said that the decision was made against the constitution, and she would appeal against it in court. Ukrainian media also reported that the parliament has not yet found a replacement for her.