Outcry over Ukraine’s maternity hospital bombing ‘pathetic’, Russia says


The Russian foreign minister has dismissed outcry over the deadly bombing of a maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol as “pathetic”.

At least three people, including a six-year-old – are reported to have been killed and 17 others injured in the attack on Wednesday March 9, which has been widely condemned as a war crime.

Images showed a pregnant woman being carried through rubble after the site was destroyed in the airstrikes. Ukrainian authorities said one of the injured was a woman in labour.

On Thursday, Sergei Lavrov was asked in a press conference how Russia could justify the bombing.

“With regards to the maternity hospital, it is not the first time we have seen pathetic outcries concerning the so-called atrocities perpetrated by the Russian military,” the foreign minister replied, according to a BBC translator.

He also claimed Ukrainian forces had taken over the maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol, an industrial port city that has been under attack for days, and there were no patients there at the time of the airstrikes.

Ukraine said Russia committed “genocide” by bombing the maternity hospital.

“What kind of country is this, the Russian Federation, which is afraid of hospitals, is afraid of maternity hospitals, and destroys them?” Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, said in a televised address on the day of the strike.

The World Health Organisation said 18 attacks have been carried on on medical facilities in Ukraine since Russia launched its all-out invasion two weeks ago.

The Mariupol hospital bombing – which Ukrainian authorities said injured pregnant women and buried patients under rubble – was condemned by the international community.

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