Kremlin says Ukrainian war crimes claims are a lie

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FILE PHOTO: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov attends a news conference in Samarkand

MOSCOW (Reuters) -The Kremlin on Monday rejected allegations that Russian forces had committed war crimes in Ukraine's Kharkiv province as a "lie".

Around 450 bodies - most of which Ukraine says are civilians - have been found in mass graves near Izium after Russian troops were this month forced out of the Kharkiv region, much of which they had controlled since the first weeks of their military campaign in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said investigators at the site had found evidence of torture, including bodies with hands tied, and accused Russian troops of committing war crimes.

Asked on Monday about Zelenskiy's statements, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: "It's the same scenario as in Bucha. It's a lie, and of course we will defend the truth in this story."

Russia previously rejected claims that its troops had committed war crimes in Bucha, outside Kyiv, after evidence of civilians being killed while the town was controlled by Russian troops came to light after Russia's withdrawal at the end of March.

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Kevin Liffey)