Fake: Russia not involved in airstrike on Mariupol Drama Theater
Russian media and actors on the Telegram platform are circulating a statement by the Russian embassy in Washington, claiming Russia’s involvement in the airstrike on the Drama Theater in Mariupol is “fake news”. According to the Russian version, the “bloody provocation” that destroyed the building was allegedly carried out by Ukraine’s “Azov battalion,” who “held civilians hostage in the Drama Theater.” Russian diplomats have denied accusations of the Russian attack on the theater, referring to a statement by the Russian defense ministry that claimed the Russian forces allegedly performed no air strikes on ground targets within the Mariupol city limits.
It is obvious that the Mariupol Drama Theater was destroyed in an air strike, with an air bomb involved. The Azov Regiment has never had any combat aircraft in its disposal. Therefore, this is yet another obvious attempt to once again shift the blame for Russia’s atrocious crimes onto the Ukrainian side. The spin is designed exclusively for the domestic Russian audiences, consumers of Vladimir Putin’s propaganda.
By inflicting a targeted bombing strike on a site where civilians had been sheltering, Russia has committed another war crime. That the targeted strike constitutes a war crime is proved by satellite imagery provided by a U.S.-based Maxar Technologies, which shows that on both sides of the drama theater building, there were massive inscriptions on the ground, written in capital Cyrillic: “Children”, set to be explicitly seen by pilots. The inscriptions had been out there since March 14, when the satellite image was taken. The image clearly shows that the word “Children” is drawn in a massive font, with white paint, in front of and behind the theater. As a result of the bombing, the central part of the theater building was destroyed, while many civilians are believed to remain under the rubble. Ukraine is asking for the international community to impose maximum possible sanctions on Russia for the brutal ombing of the Mariupol Drama Theater, where hundreds of civilians were sheltering.