The most angrily emotive Russian bugbear of its war in Ukraine was aired before the eyes of the world last week by Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Speaking at a televised press conference on March 10 after his abortive meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kulebain in Turkey, Lavrov was grilled about one of the worst atrocities of the carnage: the bombing by Russian forces of a maternity hospital in the city of Mariupol.

For those curious about one of the stated aims of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine – to “denazify” the country – Lavrov’s response provided insight.

Lavrov claimed that “the ultra-radical Azov Battalion” and “other radicals” drove women and children out of the hospital and took up positions there. His implication was the alleged use of the hospital for military means justified the use of Russian artillery.

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