Twitter has deleted three official tweets from the Russian Embassy to the United Kingdom in which it refused to take responsibility for Russian forces bombing a maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol, a Ukrainian city on the country's southern coast that is currently under Russian siege.
The embassy attempted to discredit images of the bombed hospital as "fake" and called actual victims of the bombing "crisis actors," suggesting they are part of a supposed conspiracy to manipulate public opinion by pretending to be victims of the attack.
Three people died in the strike and more than a dozen were injured but Russia has claimed it was not responsible for the attack at all, insisting that it had been cleared of patients and that the scene had been staged by Ukrainian extremists. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stressed that "Russian forces do not fire on civilian targets."
Ukrainian President Volodymyrr Zelenskyy has rejected the Russian government's narrative, saying that the Russians "lie confidently."
Many have also called out the Russian government in the wake of the attack, which has drawn international condemnation.
Vice President Kamala Harris, speaking during a trip to Romania, unequivocally stated that intentional attacks against civilians are considered war crimes, referring, in addition to the hospital attack, to recent reports that Russian forces had attacked civilians and targeted residential areas in the ongoing war that erupted since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces to invade Ukraine.
Harris said that the United States has been "clear that any intentional attack or targeting of civilians is a war crime."
Harris's remarks follow comments she made on March 10, when she said that Russia should “absolutely” be investigated for war crimes.
Harris, speaking during a joint news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw, said she has "no question the eyes of the world are on this war and what Russia has done in terms of this aggression and these atrocities.”
Harris’s statement came shortly after the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced a war crimes investigation into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 39 countries had referred Russia’s case to the court.