Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has announced that Greece is ready to rebuild the destroyed maternity hospital in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.
Mitsotakis wrote on Twitter: "Greece is ready to rebuild the maternity hospital in Mariupol, the center of the Greek minority in Ukraine, a city dear to our hearts and symbol of the barbarity of the war."
It is recalled that Mariupol and its surrounding villages is home to 120,000 ethnic Greeks.
The March 9 bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol was blamed by Western leaders on Russia who described the attack as a “war crime.”
The strike killed three civilians, including a child, and left 17 wounded.
Social media users cited photos of an injured pregnant woman they claimed was a “crisis actor,” someone who is paid to play a victim in high-profile tragedies.
“The Ukrainians used the model Marianna from Mariupol for the shots,” reads a March 10 Facebook post. “Marianna is a well-known beauty blogger and posed for the photo shoots in the ruins of the hospital. She played two pregnant women at once, changed clothes and applied new ‘bloody’ make-up.”
Other social media users suggested the Mariupol maternity hospital stopped functioning and that personnel and patients were kicked out after the building was occupied by the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, a far-right extremist group with a small presence in Ukraine.
The Kremlin denied the Mariupol hospital bombing and alleged it was Western propaganda, contrary to photo and video evidence.
The images of the injured woman wearing polka-dotted pajamas and wrapped in a blanket show Mariana Vishegirskaya, a Ukrainian beauty blogger who survived the airstrike. She is not a "crisis actor," as some posts claim.
“We were lying in wards when glass, frames, windows and walls flew apart,” Vishegirskaya told the AP. “We don’t know how it happened. We were in our wards and some had time to cover themselves, some didn’t.”
The narrative gained traction after the Russian Embassy in London compared a photo of Vishegirskaya fleeing to one of a woman being carried away on a stretcher. The embassy claimed in a tweet that she “played roles of both pregnant women."
But the image of the woman on a stretcher shows a different individual, whose identity USA TODAY could not verify. Surgeon Timur Marin told the AP medics were unable to save the woman and her baby. Vishegirskaya gave birth March 11.
Based on the research of USA Today, they rate FALSE the claim that the Russian attack on a Mariupol maternity hospital was staged. Reports from the WHO, the UN and news organisations confirm the bombing took place March 9. Photos shared in social media posts show a Ukrainian beauty blogger who survived the attack, not a "crisis actor."