Ukraine: The mysterious journey of a pregnant Mariupol influencer is back in a pro-Russia video

The information war between Ukraine and Russia continues, more than a month after the start of the fighting. And the Kremlin, which has historical experience in the field of propaganda, does not hesitate to use the faces of conflict to sow suspicion on social networks. On Saturday April 2, Marianna Vyshgerskaya, the 29-year-old Ukrainian influencer who is known for taking pictures of her in the bombed Mariupol maternity hospital and has been the target of Russian disinformation, returned in an interview broadcast by a pro-Russian channel. Mysteriously supports Moscow’s account that the Ukrainian army intentionally bombed the famous Motherhood.

Fashion influencer Marianna Vyshgerskaya was at the center of Russian propaganda discourse after the March 9 bombing of the Mariupol Children’s Hospital. A grim shot, taken by a photojournalist in the field, then travels around the world: We see a young pregnant woman with her bloodied stomach, hawkish eyes and pale skin, painfully carried by rescuers on a stretcher through the rubble. The Associated Press reported that the young woman, whose pelvis was shattered in the blast, and her baby died less than a week later.

For Russia, “the air strike is a phased provocation”

Then Russia, through its embassies, denounced the “staging” of Ukrainian “nationalists” and confirmed, in a “press group”, that the deceased woman was none other than Marianna Vyshgerskaya, whom the Kremlin accused of hiring to play the role of several pregnant women. Women and stir up emotions on the international scene. However, the examination of the various shots and From a video taken by the Associated Press at the Children’s Hospital clearly shows two distinct womenIncluding the influencer, he was also injured, and proves that the Moscow story does not stand up to it. Since then, Kremlin spokesman Igor Konashenkov has not budged: “The alleged air raid is a staged provocation … It may deceive the Western public, but is not an expert. »

After disappearing from the radar for nearly three weeks, the influencer finally reappeared in an interview posted on YouTube by a pro-Russian blogger by the name of Denis Seleznev and photographed by Kristina Melnikova, titled “Interview with a girl from the maternity ward in Mariupol.: The reality of the army, the explosion and the Associated Press journalists” If it is impossible to locate the young woman geographically, it is not excluded that the latter was one of the 15,000 residents of Mariupol who were forcibly “deported” to Russia or to the breakaway regions of Lugansk and Donetsk, according to the Ukrainian authorities, who are requesting the intervention of the International Committee of the Red Cross to obtain on the names of these people.

Victims of the bombing at the heart of Russian propaganda

In the 25-minute video, the influencer — who has since given birth to a granddaughter — hints that the Russian version of the pregnancy bombing will be true. “People said it wasn’t an air strike and we couldn’t hear it either, so it was a confirmation,” she said. “People said it was a missile,” she said again, echoing the Russian version that Ukrainian forces had fired a laser-guided missile from a nearby building where they were hiding.

For the duration of the video, the girl with a lost look avoids looking into the camera lens. As she remembers the moment the Associated Press took a picture of her, she appears to be stifling her tears: “I was looking at him (an Associated Press photographer) and I saw that he had something in his hands and that he was filming. I asked her not to shoot because I wasn’t ready and didn’t want to see me. Before To conclude directly with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: “Please, during the negotiations you should do everything in your power to find a compromise. Seeing it is unbearable. »

While there is no certainty that Marianna Vyshgerskaya was kidnapped by Russian forces or that she was speaking under duress, this would not be the first time that Russia has used videos of people surviving their bombings for propaganda purposes. In 2016, a young Syrian man stirred emotions around the world after surviving Russian bombing in Syria, in the city of Aleppo, which was the scene of fighting between rebels and the regime of Bashar al-Assad with the support of Moscow. Then the boy reappeared a few months later on Russian and Syrian TV channels smiling and happy, while his father, who remained in the city of Aleppo at that time under the full control of the Syrian regime, denounced attempts to manipulate the opposition of the Syrian dictator. .

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