Beauty blogger accused by Russia of faking hospital strike injuries gives birth

10 March 2022, 16:47 | Updated: 11 March 2022, 10:27

Beauty blogger Marianna Podgurskaya has given birth, according to local reports
Beauty blogger Marianna Podgurskaya has given birth, according to local reports. Picture: Instagram/Twitter

By Liam Gould

A pregnant Ukrainian woman caught in the Russian bombing of a maternity hospital and falsely accused of faking her injuries by Russia has given birth to a baby girl.

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Horrific photographs emerged of the injured victims from Wednesday's attack on the maternity hospital in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, including one of pregnant beauty blogger Marianna Podgurskaya.

Heavily pregnant Marianna was pictured walking down a destroyed staircase in teddy bear pyjamas with blood smeared across her face, covered in dust from the bombed building.

She has since given birth to a baby girl. Journalist Olga Tokariuk said she had been in touch with Marianna's family and they confirmed the news.

She tweeted: "I received an update from a relative of Marianna - a pregnant girl from Mariupol's bombed hospital. They were able to reach her on the phone briefly.

The Russian embassy to the UK has claimed a photograph of a pregnant woman injured during the maternity hospital attack is fake
The Russian embassy to the UK has claimed a photograph of a pregnant woman injured during the maternity hospital attack is fake. Picture: Alamy/ Twitter

"Last night at 10pm, Marianna gave birth to a baby girl!"

The Russian embassy to the UK claimed the photograph was fake, in their latest sickening propaganda campaign.

In Russia's latest attempt to deny the attack, which they claim was carried out by "neo-Nazi" Ukrainian's, officials based in the UK have taken to social media to brand the photograph "fake news".

In a tweet, which has since been removed by Twitter for "violating guidelines", the Russian Embassy to the UK claimed: "The maternity house was long non-operational. Instead, it was used by [Ukrainian] armed forces and radicals, namely the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion. Moreover, Russia warned UN Security Council about this 3 days ago."

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Twitter has since deleted several tweets from the UK Russian Embassy
Twitter has since deleted several tweets from the UK Russian Embassy. Picture: Twitter

The false claim saw a mass of angry comments from users, with one Twitter user saying: "She is pregnant you mf!"

To which the embassy replied: "She is indeed. As she has some very realistic make-up.

"She is also doing well with her beauty blogs. Plus she could not be in the maternity house at the time of the strike, as it has long been taken by the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion who told all the staff to clear the place."

The embassy went on to imply that the beauty blogger, who has 26,500 followers, was not in fact injured during the air strike and instead was there to shoot Ukrainian propaganda.

But Ukrainian officials said on Thursday that three people died in the attack, including a girl aged six, with at least 17 people injured.

Many of the pregnant women present at the hospital survived because they were hiding in the basement at the time of the strike on the orders of hospital authorities, it is reported.

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Russian officials based in the UK have taken to social media to brand the photographs of the hospital attack "fake news".
Russian officials based in the UK have taken to social media to brand the photographs of the hospital attack "fake news". Picture: Twitter

Replying to another angry user the embassy's official account wrote: "No, it's the indeed pregnant beauty blogger Marianna Podgurskaya. She actually played roles of both pregnant women on the photos.

"And first photos were actually taken by famous propagandist photographer Evgeniy Maloletka, rather than rescuers and witnesses as one would expect."

Adding: "Threat to civilians in Ukraine is posed not by Russian military who do not target civil infrastructure, but by Ukrainian radicals and neo-Nazis who hold population of several cities as hostage."

Downing Street said a tweet from the Russian embassy in the UK claiming the maternity hospital bombed in Ukraine was no longer operational and that images had been faked was "disinformation".

When asked about the Twitter account, a spokesman for the Prime Minister told reporters: "It is clear that this is further disinformation.

"You have seen the pictures of the people who were wounded during that attack, and you have seen what the Prime Minister said in his tweet yesterday."

The spokesman said he was "not aware" that the Foreign Office had held "specific conversations" about reprimanding the embassy for the social media post.

The controversial tweets have prompted calls for Twitter to suspend the account to prevent the spread of Russian propaganda.

Asked whether Boris Johnson would like to see social media platforms shut down the Russian embassy's accounts, the spokesman replied: "That's obviously a matter for Twitter, but we've been clear that that is disinformation.

"You've seen the increase in the civilians that have been targeted and sadly wounded and killed on the basis of Russian attacks."

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The bizarre tweets come after Putin's confidant Sergei Lavrov branded the attack a "pathetic outcry" during failed peace talks in Turkey.

The Russian Foreign Minister claimed during his meeting with Ukraine's foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba that Russia "did not attack Ukraine" insisting instead that troops were carrying out "special operations" in the region.

Speaking after the "difficult" meeting, Lavrorv said: "We are not planning to attack other countries. We didn't attack Ukraine, either."

When asked about the air strike during the press conference, Putin's confidant replied: "It is not the first time we see pathetic outcries concerning the so-called atrocities perpetrated by the Russian military."

He went on to claim that the hospital had been taken over by the Azov battalion - a volunteer group fighting alongside the Ukrainian army - and prior to the attack all the "mothers and nurses were chased out" of the hospital.