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22 Dec, 2022 14:11

Russia reacts to Red Cross office shelling in Donetsk

The aid group should acknowledge that the attack on its facilities came from Kiev’s forces, Moscow has said
Russia reacts to Red Cross office shelling in Donetsk

Russia has expressed solidarity with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), whose office in Donetsk was hit by artillery fire on Monday night. The global community should recognize Kiev’s responsibility for this and other incidents, the Foreign Ministry suggested.

The shelling was “expected,” considering the years-long indiscriminate attacks on the city by Ukrainian forces, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during her daily briefing on Thursday.

“Even this will not be a reason for the international bureaucracy to get the courage to reject the bland lies of [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky…about purported ‘self-shelling’ in Donbass,” the diplomat predicted.

International humanitarian organizations should stop denying reality and not shy away from assigning blame for these types of incidents, Zakharova said. Without acknowledging the connection between the pouring of weapons into Ukraine by Kiev’s foreign backers and the deaths of civilians caused by Ukrainian troops, there cannot be an improvement of the humanitarian situation on the ground, she warned.

The ICRC confirmed on Wednesday that its Donetsk office had been hit by shelling earlier in the week. Luckily no personnel were killed or injured, it added. In a separate attack on an ICRC-supported hospital in the city on Sunday, two patients were killed, the statement said.

The aid organization said it “condemns the effects of the hostilities on our office and calls for respect of the humanitarian space.”

Zakharova noted that over roughly the last two weeks, 21 Donetsk residents had been killed and 94 others injured. She blamed Ukrainian forces for the civilian losses.

President Zelensky has repeatedly alleged that Kiev’s opponents use false flag attacks to discredit its military. In mid-February, he called reports of mortar strikes by Ukrainian forces in Donbass “pure lies.”

“Nobody was injured. It’s just people who have gone crazy and are blowing themselves up…They fire at themselves. It’s a kind of cynicism,” he added.

The Ukrainian president was speaking at a panel discussion at this year’s Munich Security Conference. Officials in Donbass at the time were reporting a surge of Ukrainian attacks amid heightened tensions between Kiev and Moscow.