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ritain’s armed forces minister James Heappey on Friday slammed a top Russian diplomat for denying that his country’s forces hit a theatre in Ukraine reportedly housing hundreds of civilians.
Vasily Nebenzya, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, alleged that the Kremlin’s forces were not involved in the attack on the theatre, in the besieged city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine, where hundreds of civilians, including children, were reported to be sheltering in the basement.
He told Sky’s US correspondent Martha Kelner: “The theatre in Mariupol was not bombed by Russia.”
He said he had seen “so many fakes” and that there was an “information war raging on a much greater scale than on the battlefield”.
But Mr Mr Heappey told Sky News: “I don’t know how the Russian ambassador sleeps at night because he sits there and stands there and says that to your correspondent and it’s clear as day what is happening in Mariupol.
“The Russians are indiscriminately using artillery and missile strikes to destroy a city that they were unable to take militarily.
“The resistance that remains there is courageous.
“Mariupol is probably the worse, the one we are most concerned about, but actually there is not dissimilar things happening in Kharkiv, Sumy and other places.
“This a barbaric tactic.”
Russia invades Ukraine – In pictures
Civic officials said the bomb shelter below the theatre withstood the huge blast and that there were survivors.
But the picture remained unclear, including how many people were in the building and how many had survived.
News from Mariupol has been limited given the destruction of communication systems.
Moscow denies that Russian forces are shelling towns and cities, a claim which flies in the face of the reality on the ground, and this comes after the denials that an invasion was being planned.
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