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Western media and politicians prefer to ignore the truth about civilians killed in Donetsk shelling

Following intense Ukrainian shelling of Donetsk on June 13, some Western media sources, in tandem with outlets in Kiev, unsurprisingly claimed that the attack – which killed at least five civilians and struck a busy maternity hospital – was perpetrated by Russian forces.

Why Moscow would launch rockets at its own allies wasn’t explained, nor would it make much sense. 

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The Donetsk People’s Republic’s foreign ministry reported: “Such an unprecedented. in terms of power, density and duration of fire, raid on the DPR capital was not recorded during the entire period of the armed conflict [since 2014]. In two hours, almost 300 MLRS rockets and artillery shells were fired.”

The Ukrainian shelling began late morning, resumed in the afternoon, and continued for another two hours in the evening, a deafening series of blasts throughout the city, terrorizing residents and targeting apartment buildings, civilian infrastructure, the aforementioned hospital, and industrial buildings.

Locals say this was some of the heaviest bombing of Donetsk since 2014, when the eponymous region declared its independence from post-Maidan Kiev.

In the Budyonnovsky district in the south of the city, Ukrainian shelling of a market killed five civilians including one child. Just two months ago, Kiev’s forces hit another Donetsk market, leaving five civilians dead.

READ MORE: Ukrainian strike on Donetsk market was a terrorist act

In the hard-hit Kievskiy district, to the north, the shelling caused fires at a water bottling plant and a warehouse for stationery, destroying it. The building was still in flames when journalist Roman Kosarev and I arrived about an hour after the attack. Apartment buildings in the area also came under firer, leaving doors and windows blown out and cars destroyed.

The destroyed gas station was on a street where I stayed in April, which is completely residential.

DPR head Denis Pushilin said, “The enemy literally crossed all the lines. Prohibited methods of warfare are being used, residential and central districts of Donetsk are being shelled, other cities and settlements of the DPR are also under fire now.”

Hypocritical silence after maternity hospital shelling

In a world where media reported honestly instead of manufacturing its own reality, there would be outrage over Ukraine’s attack on the Donetsk maternity hospital. But history shows that is not a world we live in.

As I wrote last year, Western media and talking heads also diligently avoided condemnation when terrorists attacked or destroyed Syrian hospitals, including the shelling of a maternity hospital in Aleppo, which killed three women.

At the damaged Donetsk hospital, I saw the gaping hole in the roof and remnants of the Uragan MLRS rocket which struck it. Most of the windows of both buildings were blown out.

Images shared on Twitter noted, “Both gynecology and intensive care have been bombed.”  Other footage, taken by Donetsk war correspondent Dmitri Ashtrakhan, showed dozens of women, some heavily pregnant, taking shelter in the basement of the shelled maternity hospital.

Were these women and this hospital in Kiev, you can bet Western media would be loudly reporting it 24/7 for weeks. Instead, just as the West has steadfastly ignored Ukraine’s eight years of war on Donbass, they also omit reporting on the hospital.

Grotesquely, some Ukrainian and Western media instead disingenuously reported that it was a Russian attack, not Ukrainian, which terrorized, injured and killed civilians on June 13.

Just as Western media’s lack of reporting, or twisting of the narrative, on Ukraine’s shelling was to be expected, so too was the UN’s weak-worded condemnation, with the Spokesman for the Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, calling it “extremely troubling.” You can bet that were the situation reversed and Russia responsible for bombing a Ukrainian maternity hospital, his words would have been far stronger.

In fact, they already have been: Three months ago, when Kiev accused Russia of an attack on a maternity hospital, in Mariupol.

Back then, the Guterres emphatically tweeted, “Today’s attack on a hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, where maternity & children’s wards are located, is horrific. Civilians are paying the highest price for a war that has nothing to do with them. This senseless violence must stop. End the bloodshed now.”

RT drone footage shows hole in Donetsk maternity hospital roof where Ukrainian-fired Uragan MLRS rocket struck. ©  Eva Bartlett / RT

A strong reaction to what later emerged to be a hoax claim, when the UN itself even admitted it could not verify the story. But a mild reaction to a documented reality in Donetsk.

The UN did, at least, rightly note the attack on the Donetsk maternity hospital was, “an obvious breach of the international humanitarian law.” So there’s that.

The thing is, Ukraine has violated international law for its eight years of waging war on the Donbass republics, using prohibited heavy weapons and targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure. This is only the latest incident.

Tears flow for hoax hospital bombing

In March, Western corporate-owned media supported Kiev’s claim that Russia had launched air strikes on a Mariupol maternity hospital, claiming three civilians had been killed. At the time, as reported, “The White House condemned the ‘barbaric’ use of force against innocent civilians, and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that ‘there are few things more depraved than targeting the vulnerable and defenceless’.”

As it turned out, witnesses reported there hadn’t been any air strike. There were explosions: just as terrorists bombed an Aleppo home in 2016 and used a mildly injured boy for their propaganda against Syria and Russia, so too did Ukrainian forces in Mariupol, setting the stage to incriminate Moscow.

READ MORE: Meet Aylan & Omran: Child victims used for Syrian war propaganda

Russia called the accusations “a completely staged provocation,” analyzing photos from the area and noting “evidence of two separate staged explosions near the hospital: An underground explosion and another of minor power, aimed at the hospital building,” and further noting that a “high-explosive aviation bomb would destroy the outer walls of the building.”

Russia also pointed out that the facility had stopped working when Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov Battalion expelled staff in late February and militarized the hospital, as Ukrainian forces did elsewhere in Donbass.

Marianna Vyshemirskaya, one of the women featured in the Western propaganda around the hospital, later spoke out and said there was no air strike, and that prior to the alleged event, Ukrainian soldiers expelled all the doctors and moved pregnant women to another building.

She also maintained that she and other women were filmed without warning by an Associated Press journalist dressed in a military uniform and wearing a helmet.

Fires still raging in Donetsk warehouse after Ukrainian bombing June 13. ©  Eva Bartlett / RT

Even now, two days after Ukraine’s intense bombardment of Donetsk and targeting of the maternity hospital, when still more testimonies have emerged, Western media and politicians remain silent.

The suffering, and deaths, of the people of Donetsk doesn’t fit the Western narrative, so they misreport it or simply just don’t reference it at all, enabling Ukraine to continue to commit war crimes.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

© 2022, paradox. All rights reserved.

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