Reports about attack on Mariupol hospital a 'staged provocation' by Ukraine: Russiatext_fields
Moscow, Russia: Russia on Thursday claimed that reports about its attack on a children's hospital in the southeastern Ukrainian port of Mariupol is fake news and termed it as a "staged provocation" by Ukraine to smear Russia.
"The Russian aviation carried out absolutely no missions to hit targets on the ground in the Mariupol area," Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.
"The airstrike that allegedly took place in a completely staged provocation to maintain anti-Russian hype for a Western audience," he said.
The bombing of the maternity hospital resulted in three deaths, including one child, according to the city's mayor. An earlier tally by Ukrainian authorities on Wednesday said 17 people were injured.
Meanwhile, Twitter Inc has removed tweets from the Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom about the bombing of a children's hospital in Mariupol for breaking its rules against denying violent events, the company said on Thursday.
"We took enforcement action against the Tweets you referenced as they were in violation of the Twitter Rules, specifically our Hateful Conduct and Abusive Behavior policies related to the denial of violent events," said a Twitter spokesperson.
One of the tweets from @RussianEmbassy posted images with a red label saying "fake" and said the maternity house was non-operational and was being used by Ukrainian armed forces.
Civilians trapped in Ukraine's Mariupol have gone through "two days of hell", a local official said on Friday, claiming Russian attacks "every 30 minutes" have scuppered any attempt at evacuations from the besieged port city.
Some 400,000 people remain in Mariupol, where Mayor Vadym Boychenko said Russian forces were continuing to "cynically, ruthlessly and purposefully" attack apartment buildings.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent thousands of troops into Ukraine on February 24th.