VLADIMIR Putin’s furious troops have branded an airstrike on a maternity hospital in Ukraine as “the most perverse f**king form of neo-Nazism”.

Hospitals in the besieged city of Mariupol have suffered relentless attacks by Russian forces – with Putin’s soldiers taking hundreds of staff and patients hostage to use as human shields.

Putin's own troops slammed the attack on the Mariupol maternity hospital


Putin’s own troops slammed the attack on the Mariupol maternity hospitalCredit: AP
A harrowing picture showed a mother being stretchered from the hospital


A harrowing picture showed a mother being stretchered from the hospitalCredit: AP
The Ukrainian president branded the attack an act of 'genocide'


The Ukrainian president branded the attack an act of ‘genocide’Credit: AP

At least three people were killed – including a young girl – and 17 people were wounded after a Russian airstrike destroyed a maternity hospital in the city last week.

A harrowing picture showed a mother being stretchered from the hospital and she later screamed “kill me, kill me” when she found she had lost her baby – then died herself.

President Volodymyr Zelensky branded the attack an act of “genocide”.

And one of Putin’s own soldiers, who has been captured by the Ukrainians, slammed the airstrike as “the most perverse f**king form of neo-Nazism”.

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Maxim, a Russian pilot, told CNN: “It was a horrifying fact, not just because it is a crime. It’s vandalism.

“You cannot forgive such things. To bomb a maternity ward?

“It’s the most perverse f**king form of neo-Nazism, neo-fascism.

“Who could think of such a thing?”

The Russian prisoner of war added: “It’s not just about demilitarising Ukraine or the defeat of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but now cities of peaceful civilians are being destroyed.

“Even, I don’t know, what can justify, f**k, the tears of a child, or even worse, the deaths of innocent people, children.”

Another Russian pilot, Alexei, added: “It’s not really up to us, who to bomb, what to bomb. It’s a command.”

Maxim suggested there was widespread disquiet and shame among his troops about the Ukraine invasion.

He said: “I know in my unit, they are totally against it.

“They have many relatives and friends [in Ukraine], and they were told it was an operation localized to the DNR [the breakaway Russian-backed Donetsk area], and not an attack on the whole country.

“My division was totally against it.”

It comes after a reconnaissance officer, called Vladimir, threatened to rise up against Putin if he doesn’t stop his “terror acts”.

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He told reporters: “I want to tell our commander-in-chief to stop terror acts in Ukraine because when we come back we’ll rise against him.”

On Wednesday, the Ukrainian prosecutor general said that 103 children have been killed so far in the war, with Russian forces striking more than 400 educational establishments, destroying 59 of them.

Thousands of terrified Ukrainians are continuing to flee their homes almost three weeks after Putin’s bloody invasion began, with Russian forces repeatedly blasting major cities.

A Russian bomb destroyed a theatre today in Mariupol where 1,200 terrified civilians have been sheltering, according to officials.

The Mariupol Drama Theatre had been used as a safe haven from Russia’s relentless shelling of the southern port city with meals being provided and people sleeping overnight.

The continuous bombardment of the city has forced around 20,000 Ukrainians to flee, while it’s estimated more than 2,300 citizens have been killed in the area.

The city’s deputy mayor, Serhiy Orlov, said between 1,000 and 1,200 people were inside the theatre when it was targeted by the Russians.

Rescuers are searching the wreckage for survivors but the number of casualties is not yet known.

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Pictures showed a pile of rubble with twisted metal and smoke rising from the ruins while videos showed blood soaked victims being rushed to hospital – and numerous bodies in the basement of the theatre.

Elsewhere, at least 10 people have died after Russian troops reportedly opened fire on Ukrainian civilians queueing for bread in the northern city of Chernihiv.

Horror footage shows bodies lying on the ground after Russian soldiers allegedly shot them outside a bakery in the city.

It comes as Russian soldiers were filmed apparently shooting dead a Ukrainian civilian in cold blood as he held his hands up and surrendered.

The distressing clip shows the man getting out of his car and surrendering before dropping to the ground almost immediately.

German broadcaster ZDF, which obtained the drone footage, said the incident appears to have taken place on the afternoon of March 7, on the E40 expressway outside Kyiv.

The video shows a Russian tank parked near a petrol station while a man in a silver vehicle turns his car around and stops.

He can be seen getting out of the car with his hands up – but a few moments later he drops to the ground after being shot.

Russian forces are continuing to pound Ukrainian cities and edge closer to Kyiv in a relentless bombardment that keeps deepening the humanitarian crisis.

But Zelensky said Ukraine has captured almost 1,000 Russian prisoners of war since the invasion began on February 24.

During a call with International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan, the Ukrainian leader said: “We have already almost 1,000 prisoners and their video testimonies.”

It comes as Russia claims it is close to a peace deal that will see Ukraine become a neutral country, its foreign minister has claimed.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said talks with Ukraine are now focused on a neutral status for the war-torn country.

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“A neutral status is being seriously discussed in connection with security guarantees,” Lavrov told Russian television.

“There are concrete formulations that in my view are close to being agreed.”

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