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War in Ukraine: the mission of the French gendarmes dispatched to the scene

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The French ambassador to Ukraine announced on Monday that French gendarmes have arrived in Lviv, in western Ukraine, to assist their Ukrainian counterparts “in the investigations of war crimes committed around kyiv”. It is the “first” foreign unit “to provide such assistance”.

French gendarmes have arrived in Lviv, in western Ukraine, to assist their Ukrainian counterparts “in the investigations of war crimes committed around kyiv”, the French ambassador to Ukraine announced on Monday. It is the “first” foreign unit “to provide such aid”, said Etienne de Poncins on Twitter. “Proud to welcome to Lviv the detachment of technical and scientific gendarmes who have come to assist their comrades in the investigations of war crimes committed around kyiv,” he wrote. “They will be at work tomorrow.”

A contribution to the investigation of the International Criminal Court

“Solidarity”, declared Etienne de Poncins, adding the emoticons of the French and Ukrainian flags. The tweet was also translated into Ukrainian. “A technical team from the Ministry of the Interior responsible for providing its expertise in terms of identification and collection of evidence to the Ukrainian authorities arrived in Ukraine this morning”, affirmed for their part in a joint press release the French ministries of Interior, Justice and Foreign Affairs. “In agreement with the Ukrainian authorities, it may also contribute to the investigation of the International Criminal Court”, it is written there.

Etienne de Poncins, for his part, accompanied his tweet with a photo showing around fifteen gendarmes – including a woman – in blue uniforms, posing in front of a white truck from the Criminal Research Institute of the National Gendarmerie (IRCGN), on which is inscribed “Mobile DNA Laboratory”.

Russia sees it as a mission to “cover up the crimes”

These gendarmes are “crime scene and victim identification experts”, said the press release from the French ministries. Two forensic doctors also accompany this team which “will be able to set up a chain of examination and identification of bodies”. The Russian Ministry of Defense reacted by saying that it should “not count on an impartial investigation” by the French gendarmes because of the “bias of these ‘specialists'”.

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The Russian ministry even said it suspected the gendarmes of having the mission of “concealing the numerous war crimes” committed according to Moscow by the Ukrainian forces and of “fabricating accusations against the Russian forces”. On Sunday, Ukrainian justice said that 1,222 people had been killed in the kyiv region since the start of the invasion, without specifying whether they were only civilians.

France is “gathering the evidence”

Images of 20 corpses in civilian clothes in a street – one with their hands tied behind their backs – in Boutcha, northwest of kyiv, have gone viral, with Ukrainian authorities denouncing a “war crime of the Russian army. The Kremlin, for its part, assures us that it is a “staging” orchestrated by the Ukrainians and intended to harm him.

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On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron said France was “gathering evidence” against “Russian war crimes” in Ukraine. He then announced the dispatch of French gendarmes and magistrates to the country.

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