In the first public comment by the Russian government on Wednesday’s attack on a maternity hospital in the besieged city of Mariupol, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov did not deny or evade responsibility for the attack.
In turn, Lavrov denied that there were any patients, and accused “the Western media” of only presenting “the Ukrainian point of view.” He justified the attack by saying that the place had been previously taken by radical fighters right-wing Ukrainians who used it as a base.
Although there were many images of civilians injured in the attack and the municipality said that a child was among the three people killed, Lavrov said that all patients and nurses were transferred from the hospital before the assault.
At least 17 people were injured after the attack on a maternity hospital in Mariopol. Photo: AFP
According to the minister, the Russian government presented documents to the UN Security Council at a meeting held in March that corroborate that this hospital center was in the hands of a nationalist group extreme called Azov and other radical organizations.
Lavrov in turn dismissed concerns about Russian military attacks on civilians, calling them “pathetic screams” from their enemies.
“There is Russophobia throughout the West directed from the United States,” Lavrov said.
The Foreign Minister also assured that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is willing to meet with his Ukrainian peerVolodimir Zelensky, while alluding to the talks in Belarus as the only viable format.
Lavrov did not rule out that Putin could meet with Ukrainian President Zelensky.
At a press conference after meeting in Turkey with the Ukrainian foreign minister, Dmitro Kuleba, and the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Lavrov, the head of Russian diplomacy stated that Putin is willing to meet with Zelensky if this meeting provides “added value” and it serves to reach a solution and to “fix concrete agreements”.
One way out
Lavrov made it clear that his meeting with his Ukrainian and Turkish counterparts does not replace the Belarusian route, according to Lavrov, the only viable format.
“Today’s conversation has confirmed that this path has no alternative“, he said when referring to the validity that Russia gives to the meetings in Belarus.
The intention is not to create a “parallel track”, as is possibly the idea of the Ukrainian side, he said, adding that Kiev’s search for new formats is only intended to “show activity” that replaces “real work”.
He added that in the rounds held in Belarus it was made very clear what must be done to end the conflict in Ukraine: the demilitarization and denazification of that country and guarantee their neutral statussaid.
He underlined that the Ukrainian side had assured that it would shortly give an answer to the concrete proposals put forward in writing by the Russian side at the last round of talks in Belarus.
Source: EFE and AP