Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Twitter And Facebook Remove Russian Embassy Posts Claiming Mariupol Maternity Hospital Bombing Was Faked

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Twitter and Facebook removed posts from Russia’s UK Embassy that claimed the bombing of a children’s hospital in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol was faked.

One of the removed tweets quoted unfounded claims from Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov that the hospital was “non-operational” and being used by Ukrainian armed forces and “radicals”.

It also claimed that Moscow warned the UN Security Council about this three days ago.

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At least three people including a six-year-old were reported to have been killed and 17 injured in the attack, which was condemned around the world.

A Twitter spokesperson said the embassy’s tweets about the strike violated rules “related to the denial of violent events”.

Debris is seen on site of the destroyed Mariupol children’s hospital as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 9, 2022

Downing Street said the tweet was “further disinformation” from Russia.

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Asked whether Boris Johnson would like to see social media platforms shut down the Russian embassy’s accounts, a spokesperson replied: “That’s obviously a matter for Twitter, but we’ve been clear that that is disinformation.”

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Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun, deputy leader of the opposition Holos Party, said Twitter should monitor official Russian accounts or “just take them down, frankly speaking that would do the job as well, it’s easier just to take them down completely, than try to, you know, follow up on every single tweet, because they’re lying to us all the time.”

She added: “And we should just stop listening to [Sergei Lavrov], we should stop transmitting whatever they’re saying.”

Mr Lavrov claimed without providing evidence that the hospital had been seized by far-right radical fighters — despite photographs from the aftermath that showed pregnant women and children at the site.

The Russian response to the Mariupol incident have veered from denials to calls to establish the facts.

Defence ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov claimed the two explosions that ravaged the building were caused by explosive devices planted nearby in what he described as a “staged provocation to incite anti-Russian agitation in the West”.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said accusations against Russia “information terrorism” – a term she has used several times regarding western coverage of the Russian invasion.

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov at first denied the attack, saying in the immediate aftermath: “Russian forces do not fire on civilian targets.”

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But on Thursday he said the Kremlin would look into the incident, adding there was not “clear information”.

Ms Sovsun pointed out there was photographic evidence of the aftermath of the attack.

Photos taken at the hospital after the bombing showed an injured pregnant woman being carried away from the bomb damaged building on a stretcher.

Other photos showed a pregnant woman with facial injuries walking down a set of stairs inside the hospital and a child being rushed away from the building by his father.

Photo Credit: Getty

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