Evgeny Maloletka, the man who photographed the maternity hospital in Mariupol bombed by the Russian army, told The Insider there were ordinary patients in the hospital, and not a battalion of fighters, contrary to the statements of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
«We photographed what was actually there. It was an air strike, there was a hospital full of people. People were coming out of the basement and out of the building - we were filming. There was no Azov.»
The day before, AP published Maloletka's photos from the maternity hospital, several of them showing an injured pregnant woman. The Russian embassy in London said the photos of the pregnant woman being led out of the building shelled by the Russian military were «staged».
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, speaking to The Insider, refused to say whether the ministry would apologize for the false accusations made by its UK mission concerning the pregnant woman and said she believed the Defense Ministry's claim that the photographs were staged. (In particular, the Russian mission claimed that the injured woman had «very realistic makeup.»)
Three civilians were killed in the strike, including a young child. Another 17 people, including women in labor, children and hospital staff, were wounded.
«A few days ago, at a UN Security Council meeting the Russian delegation provided evidence that the maternity hospital had long ago been taken over by the Azov battalion and other radicals. All the maternity patients, nurses and other staff members were kicked out of there. It served as a base for the ultra-radical Azov battalion,» Lavrov said at a news conference after the talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmitry Kuleba in Antalya.
Four hours before the shelling of the maternity hospital, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said during a briefing that nationalists had cleared out the maternity hospital in Mariupol to make it their military base. She claimed the nationalist fighters kicked out all the staff, including women and children, from the maternity hospital for the purpose of converting it into a firing position.
Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned the airstrike on the maternity hospital in Mariupol. He called this action by the Russian side an «atrocity.» «Close the skies immediately! Stop the killings immediately! You have the power. But you seem to be losing your humanity,» the head of state urged.