Pregnant Ukrainian influencer faces backlash after Russia claims she was crisis actor in hospital bombing

Business Insider US
Ukrainian beauty influencer Marianna Podgurskaya was injured during the bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol.
  • Ukrainian beauty influencer Marianna Podgurskaya was injured when the Mariupol maternity hospital was bombed.
  • The Russian Embassy in the UK falsely claimed that she was an actor faking her pregnancy.
  • Angry trolls have since flooded Podgurskaya's Instagram account with hateful comments.
  • For more stories visit Business Insider.

A Ukrainian beauty influencer has been attacked online after Russia falsely claimed she was a crisis actor pretending to be pregnant in Wednesday's bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol.

Marianna Podgurskaya had been named in a series of tweets by the Russian Embassy in the UK on Thursday after a picture of her fleeing with blood on her face made headlines worldwide.

The embassy claimed that the blogger was wearing "some very realistic make-up" and denied that she had been in the hospital at the time of the strike. It also claimed — without providing evidence — that the hospital had been "long non-operational" and was being used by a "neo-Nazi" Ukrainian military force.

Twitter has since removed the embassy's posts for violating the platform's Abusive Behavior policy.

While the embassy's claims have been debunked by multiple journalists, Podgurskaya's Instagram account, which has nearly 50,000 followers, has since been swamped with hateful messages.

A user with the handle @rmneto2 wrote: "Fake staging in front of Mariupol's maternity hospital? You are very shameless, aren't you?"

Another user with the handle @stasiandstasia said: "I wonder where this girl has disappeared to after a fake photo shoot?" 

In response, Podgurskaya's supporters have also been flooding her account with words of encouragement. Users also left in the comments blue and yellow heart emojis — the colors of the Ukrainian flag — and emojis of sunflowers, which have become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance

Instagram user @delmargarden said: "Stay strong mom! The world stands with you and Ukraine. Wishing your family strength." 

User @gie_g_nord commented: "This is not how it is supposed to be when a child comes into this world. I am so sorry you have to go through this hell. Hold on! I wish you a calm birth and I hope this hell ends soon.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian human rights activist Oleksandra Matviichuk tweeted on Thursday about the online bullying that Podgurskaya has been facing and called for people to offer her "words of support."

Podgurskaya did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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