Ségolène Royal has faced backlash after questioning the Ukrainian account of the events in Bucha and Mariupol
A former presidential candidate in France has accused Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky of using “war propaganda” as a tool to obstruct the peace process. Veteran politician Ségolène Royal has also called on the UN and media associations to fight against such tactics.
Royal’s suggestion that some of the “war crimes“kyiv’s rebuke of Russian troops was part of ‘propaganda’, making her a target of widespread criticism.
Speaking to BFMTV earlier this week, Royal said that “everyone knows there is fear war propaganda.”
As an example, she cited the alleged bombing of a maternity ward in Mariupol – the story that made headlines in Western media in early March. Zelensky blamed Russia for the incident, which local authorities said killed three people, including a child. The Russian military denied targeting the medical facility and insisted it was all a “completely staged provocationby the Ukrainian side.
“You can imagine that if there had been a victim, a baby with blood, in the age of cell phones, we would have seen [their photos],Royal pointed out.
The authenticity of the photos presented by Kyiv as evidence of the claimed Russian attack has been questioned by many netizens. Marianna Vyshemirskaya, one of the pregnant women featured in the images that appeared on the front pages of many major media outlets, later claimed that there was no Russian airstrike on the hospital. She insisted on telling AP reporters about it, but they decided not to mention it in their report.
Royal, who was a longtime partner of former French President Francois Hollande, also commented on events in April in the town of Bucha near kyiv, after which Zelensky claimed negotiations with Russia had become impossible. Ukrainian authorities have accused Russian forces of multiple atrocities against civilians in the city, including the rape of children. Moscow has strongly denied the war crimes allegations, insisting it was “yet another provocation” by kyiv.
“The stories of child rape for seven hours under the eyes of the parents: but it’s monstrous to spread things like that to interrupt the peace process,said the veteran French politician, without giving further details.
She also claimed that Zelensky used accounts of alleged torture of Ukrainian soldiers by Russian troops – which Moscow also vehemently denies – not only to obstruct any peace process, but also to “remobilize» troops. She argued that “there has been enough horror of war and casualties” and that “Ukrainian propaganda“should be stopped”under the aegis of the UN and the media.”
After BFMTV tweeted a fragment of his interview with a caption “Ségolène Royal implicates certain war crimes in Ukraine,“the politician replied that it was”fakeas she would “never denied war crimes.”
On Saturday, Royal released the last part of her remarks which, as she said, was cut by the television station. In this fragment she says that “there is a form of one-upmanship in the description of the horror, to encourage the delivery of arms and refrain from setting up negotiation and peace processes.”
“To plead for peace is to act for the end of the suffering of the Ukrainian people and of Russian aggression“, she wrote in the caption of the video.
Royal’s interview was condemned by some politicians as well as many social media users. The Stand With Ukraine group representing victims and families of victims of “Russian Aggression” even announced that she was considering filing a lawsuit against Royal in order to defend “the honor of the deceased”.
For his part, the president of the Les Patriotes party, Florian Philippot, criticized “aggressive and crazy reactionsto Royal’s remarks and said she “has every right, and an intellectual dutyto challenge war propaganda.