Twitter pulls 'fake news' post by Russian embassy in UK about Mariupol hospital attack

Twitter said the post breached policies on hateful conduct and abusive behaviour

UN's Ukraine ambassador tells Russian diplomats to call NHS for support

UN's Ukraine ambassador tells Russian diplomats to call NHS for support
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Twitter has pulled a post from the Russian embassy in London after allegations made about an attack on a maternity hospital in Ukraine was called "fake news" by British Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.

The embassy, quoting Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, suggested the hospital attacked by Kremlin forces in Mariupol had been “long non-operational” and was being used by Ukrainian armed forces and “radicals” .

Mariupol is under attack by Russian forces and the strike on the maternity hospital sparked international condemnation.

On Thursday, the local Red Cross reported food was running short in the besieged port city.

Ms Dorries retweeted the Russian Embassy message and said: “This is fake news.” The post was published just days after Ukraine's ambassador to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya held up another tweet from the London embassy at a special sitting of the Security Council. It claimed that Russia had attacked Ukraine to prevent hostile operations erupting there.

The Mariupol tweet was reported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and has since been removed with a note in its place saying: “This Tweet violated the Twitter rules.”

Twitter said the tweet specifically breached its policies on hateful conduct and abusive behaviour relating to the denial of violent events.

The Russian embassy UK account is verified with a blue tick and has more than 150,000 followers.

“It's not just some random or unknown account on Twitter," said Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun, deputy leader of the Holos Party.

"It's an account of an official organisation, which is the embassy of the Russian Federation. So that is something that Twitter can follow up upon, I believe.

“I do think that Twitter at least should take care of the official accounts, like embassies and so on, or just take them down," she said.

"Frankly speaking, that would do the job as well. It's easier just to take them down completely than try to, you know, to follow up on every single tweet, because they're lying to us all the time ...

"And we should just stop listening to him [Mr Lavrov], we should stop transmitting whatever they're saying.”

The UK embassy account has a long history of trolling the West and was subject of compliants during the 2016 offensive in Aleppo when its posts revelled in civilian and rebel hardship.

Ukraine accuses Russia of hitting a maternity hospital in an air strike

Ukraine accuses Russia of hitting a maternity hospital in an air strike

The tone is no different in this latest Russian-backed siege. Ms Sovsun pointed out there was photographic evidence of women being carried out of the hospital.

“You did see the picture of the pregnant women taken out of that hospital. They were there," she said.

“They were really pregnant, they were really hurt. And we had three people at least killed, confirmed, in that attack."

Updated: March 11, 2022, 10:57 AM