Contrary to a UN assessment, the Russian Defense Ministry described the Ukrainian account of the attack on a maternity hospital building in Mariupol as an “informal provocation by the Kiev regime”.
“The airstrike that allegedly took place is a fully orchestrated provocation to keep anti-Russian enthusiasm alive among Western audiences,” ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Thursday.
Like Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Konashenkov said the building attacked on Wednesday was last used as a camp for ultra-radical fighters from the Ukrainian Azov battalion.
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UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in New York: “The human rights team there has confirmed and documented what they described as an indiscriminate airstrike on the hospital and that the hospital was treating women and children at the time.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said three civilians were killed and 17 wounded in the attack. Initially, it was not possible to independently verify whether the Ukrainian fighters were also in the clinic at the time of the Russian attack.
The Russian Defense Ministry also again accused Ukraine on Thursday of having set up laboratories for biological-military experiments with the help of the United States. Konashenkov once again referred to the relevant documents. “According to the documents, the US side planned to conduct work on pathogens of birds, bats and reptiles in Ukraine in 2022,” he stated.
Experiments on the “possibility of transmission of African swine fever and anthrax” were also planned. There were also studies with bats and corona samples.
These descriptions caused disbelief among Russian opposition figures. “This is a conscious strategy of the Russian authorities. The only thing the Kremlin cannot tell is the truth,” Kira Jarmysh, a spokesperson for imprisoned Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny, wrote on Twitter. “That’s why more and more absurd versions continue to be invented (…)”. (dpa)