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Russian Defense Ministry Denies Report Accusing It of Bombing Syrian Hospitals

A spokesman rubbished a New York Times report and said Russian jets attacked a “terrorist bunker.”

The Defence Ministry said the paper had been manipulated.

Russia has denied an explosive New York Times report saying it bombed Syrian hospitals, including four in one day in May, insisting that its planes attacked a “terrorist bunker” rather than an underground hospital.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said Monday that the ministry last week organized a press tour for dozens of journalists to the site of one of the hospitals the paper mentioned in its report. 

“They saw with their own eyes what’s actually in such caves, or rather well-protected terrorist bunkers,” the state-run RIA Novosti news agency quoted Konashenkov as saying.

The NYT said Russia bombed four Syrian hospitals within 12 hours on May 5-6, citing data gathered by plane spotters, witness accounts and thousands of Russian Air Force radio transmissions it had obtained from an unnamed network of observers. The hospitals were on UN-sponsored deconfliction list designed to prevent them from being attacked, which the organization circulated among combatants, including Russia.

Konashenkov added that the “bunker” was located in such a remote location that “it’s impossible to meet even the minimum requirements of treating people.”

The Russian military does not share target locations via open radio communications, RIA Novosti quoted Konashenkov as saying. 

He also accused the New York Times of “falling victim to terrorist and British intelligence manipulations.”

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