wounded pregnant woman leaving ruined building

Evgeniy Maloletka/AP/Shutterstock (Licensed)

Twitter deletes tweets from Russia saying pregnant women hit in bombing were crisis actors

The embassy claimed the bombing was staged.


Claire Goforth


Posted on Mar 10, 2022   Updated on Mar 14, 2022, 2:14 pm CDT

Twitter has deleted tweets by the Russian Embassy that claimed images of a bombed hospital in Ukraine were faked.

In recent days, Facebook, YouTube, Telegram, and other platforms have sought to limit Russia’s reach amid its invasion of Ukraine. Deleting the Russian Embassy’s tweets, initially reported by the Guardian, amounts to significant escalation for Twitter, which has thus far taken a more lackadaisical approach than its peers.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted footage of destruction at a maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol, a Ukrainian city under Russian siege.

“Direct strike of Russian troops at the maternity hospital. People, children are under the wreckage,” Zelenskyy wrote on his verified Telegram account. He reiterated his call to “close the sky” and “stop the killings.”

In a subsequent statement also posted on Telegram, Zelenskyy said, “Today, we must be united in condemning this war crime of Russia, which reflects all the evil that the invaders brought to our land.”

Reports of the hospital bombing sparked international condemnation.

Since then, Russia has alternately claimed that it didn’t bomb the hospital and that it had been cleared of patients and was being used as a staging ground for attacks by an extremist Ukrainian group.

Zelenskyy rejected this as false. “Like always, they lie confidently,” he said of the Russians.

After the bombing, the Russian Embassy to the United Kingdom tweeted pictures of the hospital bombing and labeled them “fake.” It claimed without evidence that injured pregnant women in photos from the wreckage is a crisis actor.

As Shayan Sardarizadeh of BBC News pointed out, the Ukrainian beauty blogger Russia said played the part of injured women for propaganda pics is visibly pregnant in her social media posts, hence it would make sense for her to be in a maternity hospital.

Further, the other woman that Russia claimed the blogger played in the photos clearly isn’t her.

Twitter subsequently deleted three of the embassy’s tweets about the hospital bombing. CNN correspondent Donie O’Sullivan reports that Twitter said two of the tweets violated its policies against “denial of violent events.”

It’s unknown why the third tweet was deleted. Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday afternoon.

Other tweets and retweets by the embassy that have been widely derided as Russian propaganda remain on the account as of this writing, including one claiming that an extremist Ukrainian group is occupying the sites where Russia is accused of bombing civilians.

Update 5:14pm CT: “We took enforcement action against the Tweets you referenced as they were in violation of the Twitter Rules, specifically our Abusive Behavior policy related to the denial of violent events,” Twitter spokesperson Trenton Kennedy told the Daily Dot via email.

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*First Published: Mar 10, 2022, 2:28 pm CST