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Russia is changing its stance on hospital bombings that sparked global outrage

FILE PHOTO: Destruction of a children's hospital in Mariupol as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues
FILE PHOTO: A person is executed after the destruction of Mariupol Children’s Hospital during the Russian invasion of Ukraine March 9, 2022 in Mariupol, Ukraine, in this still image from handout video obtained by Reuters. Ukrainian Military/Handout via REUTERS

March 10, 2022

By Mark Trevelyan

LONDON (Reuters) – Russia changed its stance on the bombing of a Ukrainian hospital in the city of Mariupol with a mix of statements on Thursday that vacillated between aggressive denials and a call for the Kremlin to get clear on the facts.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said three people, including a child, were killed in Wednesday’s bombing, dismissing Russian claims there were no patients there.

“As always, they are confidently lying,” said Zelenskyy, who has accused Moscow of waging genocide in the war it started two weeks ago.

In the face of global condemnation, there have been rare signs of inconsistency in the response from Russian officials, who have stuck firmly to the same narrative for what Russia is calling its special military operation in Ukraine since the start of the Moscow invasion on February 24.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who requested comment immediately afterwards, told Reuters on Wednesday: “Russian forces are not firing at civilian targets.”

On Thursday he said the Kremlin would investigate the incident.

“We will definitely ask our military because you and I don’t have clear information about what happened there,” Peskov told reporters. “And the military will most likely provide some information.”

“Information Terrorism”

Other Russian officials took a more aggressive line, dismissing the hospital bombing as fake news.

“This is information terrorism,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

The Defense Ministry later denied bombing the hospital and accused Ukraine of orchestrating the incident. It said Russian forces were honoring an agreement at the time to hold fire to allow civilians to be evacuated.

“Russian aviation has absolutely not attacked ground targets in the region,” said spokesman Igor Konashenkov.

“The alleged airstrike was a staged provocation…that may fool the Western public, but not an expert.”

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attacked what he described as “pathetic clamor about so-called atrocities by the Russian armed forces”.

He told reporters after meeting Ukraine’s foreign minister in Turkey that the hospital building had been under the control of ultra-radical Ukrainian forces for days, who had sacked the doctors and patients – a version Zelenskyy dismissed as a lie.

Moscow says it is conducting a special military operation to demilitarize and “denazify” Ukraine. Kyiv and the West reject this as a false pretext for an invasion of a democratic country of 44 million people.

On Wednesday, the United States denied renewed Russian allegations that Washington was operating bioweapons laboratories in Ukraine, calling the claims “ridiculous.”

(Additional reporting by Olzhas Auyezov and Andrei Khalip; Editing by Gareth Jones)

https://www.oann.com/russia-says-claim-that-it-bombed-a-childrens-hospital-are-fake-news/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=russia-says-claim-that-it-bombed-a-childrens-hospital-are-fake-news Russia is changing its stance on hospital bombings that sparked global outrage

Bobby Allyn

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