The Russia-Ukraine war has been on since February 24, 2022, when President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine and there seems to be no end at sight yet.
Twitter, Facebook remove Russian embassy tweet
Posts by the Russian embassy in the UK that claimed photos from the devastating bombing of a hospital in Ukraine’s Mariupol were staged have been removed by Twitter and Facebook, citing breaches of their rules banning the denial of violent events.
In the posts, the Russian embassy said the maternity hospital and children’s ward in Mariupol, which Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday had been destroyed by a Russian airstrike, was “non-operational”, stamping photos of the wreckage with the word “Fake”.
It said the hospital was instead being used by “armed forces and radicals” including neo-Nazis, and said a pregnant woman in one photo, wrapped in a blanket with a bloodied face, was actually an actress.
“We took enforcement action against the Tweets you referenced as they were in violation of the Twitter Rules, specifically our Abusive Behavior policy related to the denial of violent events,” a Twitter spokesperson said.
Facebook said the content violated its bullying and harassment policies, which prohibit users from targeting others “maliciously” by “posting content about a violent tragedy, or victims of violent tragedies that include claims that a violent tragedy did not occur”.
The move comes as social media platforms have faced increasing pressure from the west to better police for misinformation and propaganda.
Meanwhile, Russia has restricted access to Twitter and fully blocked access to Facebook parent Meta, after they blocked content from Russian state-owned news outlets Russia Today and Sputnik in the EU following demands from officials in the bloc.
Before it was taken down, UK culture secretary Nadine Dorries tweeted that it was “fake news” and that she had reported it.
Late on Thursday afternoon, Facebook issued a statement saying, that as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it has “temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’ We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.”
Putin to seize assets of companies exiting Russia
President Vladimir Putin has warned international companies halting operations in Russia that he could seize their assets.
His warning follows an exodus of big western brands like McDonald’s and Unilever that have suspended operations in Russia.
Foreign ministers from Ukraine and Russia failed to reach an agreement on Thursday after meeting in Turkey to discuss a ceasefire to rescue civilians from besieged cities.
Turkey is acting as a facilitator in the push for Ukraine-Russia peace, president Recep Tayyip Erdogan told US president Joe Biden. Erdogan now expects the US to sell fighter jets to Ankara and lift sanctions against Turkey.
More than half of Ukraine’s economy has shut down and infrastructure assets worth $100bn have been destroyed since Russia invaded Ukraine, according to the chief economic adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky.
European leaders have said that western democracy is at stake in the war on Ukraine and have vowed to strengthen their military defences and reduce their dependence on Russian gas and oil.
The EU will work on a proposal to phase out the bloc’s dependence on Russian fossil fuel in half a decade.
UN says more than 500 civilians killed in war so far
The UN said on Thursday that it had recorded 1,506 civilian casualties since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, including 549 deaths and 957 injuries.
“Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes,” the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement.
“OHCHR believes that the actual figures are considerably higher, especially in government-controlled territory and especially in recent days, as the receipt of information from some locations where intense hostilities have been going on has been delayed and many reports are still pending corroboration,” the organisation added.
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