PARIS (Reuters) – Russia’s ambassador to France was summoned on Thursday to the Foreign Ministry in Paris after his embassy tweeted a picture claiming to be a film-set in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, where the killing of civilians has triggered a global outcry.
The tweet, which has since been deleted, appeared to show people preparing to shoot a film, with the words “Film set, Bucha town” written above the image.
The embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It is the third time in as many weeks that Paris has called in the envoy. The embassy previously posted a picture depicting a body lying on a table called “Europe” with characters representing the United States and European Union jabbing needles into it.
“In the face of the indecency and provocation of the communication of the Russian embassy in France on the acts perpetrated in Bucha, I have decided to summon …. the ambassador of Russia,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.
President Emmanuel Macron has sought to keep dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He speaks regularly with Putin as part of efforts to get a ceasefire and begin a credible negotiation between Kyiv and Moscow.
Macron has faced criticism for maintaining that channel. The French presidency says the contact is at the request of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Bucha, 37 km (23 miles) northwest of Kyiv, was occupied by Russian troops for more than a month following the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. Local officials say more than 300 people were killed by Russian forces in Bucha, and around 50 of them were executed.
The Kremlin says Western allegations Russian forces committed war crimes by executing civilians in Bucha were a “monstrous forgery,” aimed at justifying more financial sanctions against Russia.
Speaking on Wednesday, Macron defended his continued dialogue with Putin after Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki berated him for talking to the Russian leader, saying nobody negotiated with Hitler.
“I think it is my duty. It’s neither complicity or naivety,” Macron said on broadcaster TF1, accusing Morawiecki of backing far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in Sunday’s presidential election.
(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)