- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Situation in Ukraine
On 24 February, Russia launched a special military operation amid Kiev's ongoing shelling of the DPR and LPR. President Vladimir Putin stated that the op is meant to protect the people of Donbass, and its goal is the complete demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine.

Russian MoD Blasts Claims of Mariupol 'Airstrike' as 'Provocation' Aimed to Fuel Anti-Russian Hype

© REUTERS / NATIONAL POLICE OF UKRAINEA view shows cars and a building of a hospital destroyed by an aviation strike in Mariupol, Ukraine, in this handout picture released March 9, 2022
A view shows cars and a building of a hospital destroyed by an aviation strike in Mariupol, Ukraine, in this handout picture released March 9, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.03.2022
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Russia's First Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy earlier slammed reports on the shelling of a hospital in Mariupol as fake news.
Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that claims of the "airstrike" that allegedly took place in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol are nothing but a provocation aimed to fuel anti-Russian hype.
The defence official pointed out that the Russian Air Force performed "absolutely no tasks" in the Mariupol area.
"The analysis of statements made by representatives of the Kiev nationalist regime, photographic materials from the hospital leaves no doubt: the alleged ‘airstrike’ that took place is a completely orchestrated provocation to maintain anti-Russian hype among the Western audience", Konashenkov said.
He explained that although the nature of the external and internal damage to the building can mislead the mass non-professional audience in Europe and the United States, it cannot trick experts, since "a high-explosive aviation munition simply would not have left anything from the outer walls of the building".
According to Konashenkov, it was said earlier that Mariupol's hospitals, including hospital №3 - the one that was allegedly shelled overnight - stopped working in late February.

"All the staff and patients were dispersed by the nationalists. Due to the favourable tactical location close to the city centre, the hospital building was converted into a stronghold of the Azov nationalist battalion", Konashenkov explained.

Ukrainian nationalists, according to the ministry's spokesman, have ramped up attacks against Russian medics and medical vehicles, with "the Nazis deliberately ambushing medical vehicles with a red cross on them".
Konashenkov also revealed that since the beginning of the military operation in Ukraine, Russian forces have destroyed 98 aircraft, 110 unmanned aerial vehicles, 144 air defence missile systems, 88 radar posts, 1,007 tanks and other armoured combat vehicles, 109 multiple launch rocket systems, 374 field artillery guns and mortars, and 793 special military vehicles.
Moscow launched a military operation in Ukraine on 24 February with the goal to "demilitarise and de-Nazify" the neighbouring country, responding to calls for help from the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in countering the aggression of Ukrainian troops. The Kremlin said that the Russian troops target military infrastructure only and pose no threat to civilians.
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