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Children’s hospital hit by Russian attacks, dozens dead in Ukraine

Children’s hospital hit by Russian attacks, dozens dead in Ukraine
Children’s hospital hit by Russian attacks, dozens dead in Ukraine

Video caption, Video posted by President Zelensky shows extensive damage to Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital

  • Author, Rob Corp & Kyla Herrmannsen
  • Role, BBC News, in London and Kiev

A children’s hospital in Kiev has been hit after Russia launched a series of missile attacks on cities across Ukraine.

Two people were killed when the Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital, Ukraine’s largest children’s hospital, suffered extensive damage from the explosion.

The attacks killed 36 people and wounded 140, Andriy Yermak, chief of staff to President Volodymyr Zelensky, said on Monday.

Lesia Lysytsia, a doctor at the hospital, told the BBC that the moment the rocket hit was “like a movie”, with “a big light and then a horrible sound”.

“Part of the hospital was destroyed and there was a fire in another part. It was really badly damaged – maybe 60-70% of the hospital,” she said.

Photos from the scene show young children, some with IVs, sitting outside the hospital as it is evacuated.

Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said the two who died in hospital were adults, one of them a doctor. He added that rescuers feared more people were trapped under the rubble.

Russia denies attacking the hospital and says it was hit by fragments from a Ukrainian air defense missile. But Ukraine says it found remnants of a Russian cruise missile.

Image caption, Patients had to be brought to safety, with their IVs still connected

Ohmatdyt is a large hospital that performs cancer treatments and organ transplants.

“We are now evacuating patients to the nearest hospital. (But) many patients are intubated and on ventilators and are not allowed to have contact with other patients or go outside,” Dr. Lysytsia said.

Hospital officials told Ukrainian television that about 20 children were being treated in the ward that was hit.

After the strike, Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina wore a black ribbon as a sign of respect on Monday afternoon when she played in the round of 16 at Wimbledon.

Mayor Klitschko accused Russia of attempting “genocide against the people of Ukraine”.

“Right now the whole world can see how Russian missiles and kamikaze drones killed Ukrainian civilians in our peaceful city.

The mayor added that a separate maternity hospital in Kiev’s Dniprovsky district was also partially destroyed by falling debris, killing seven people.

Image caption, Ukrainian Elina Svitolina wore a black ribbon while playing at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London as a sign of respect

Mr Zelensky wrote on social media that “more than 40 missiles of various types” had hit buildings and infrastructure in cities including Kiev, Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.

He called for a stronger Western response “to the blow that Russia has once again dealt to our people, our country and our children”.

Dnipro regional head Sergiy Lysak said one person was killed in Dnipro city and six others were wounded. He added that a high-rise building and a company had been hit.

Three people were killed in Pokrovsk, in the eastern Donetsk region, where Russian forces have captured a number of villages in recent weeks.

The Russian bombing comes as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Moscow for a two-day state visit, where he will hold talks with President Vladimir Putin.

Video caption, Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko condemns Russian ‘genocide’

Russia denies attacking civilian infrastructure but says the damage to the children’s hospital was caused by a Ukrainian surface-to-air missile.

However, the Ukrainian security service has published photos of what it claims are fragments of a Russian Kh-101 cruise missile recovered from the site.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov responded to the attacks by urging the country’s allies to quickly strengthen air defenses.

“Our defense capabilities are still insufficient… We need more air defense systems,” he said.

Ukraine’s allies have condemned the attack on Ohmatdyt hospital, while EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell accused Russia of “mercilessly attacking Ukrainian citizens”.

Britain’s new Foreign Secretary David Lammy said: “We must hold to account those responsible for Putin’s illegal war.”

UN chief António Guterres strongly condemned the attacks, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, adding that he found the attack on the children’s hospital and another medical facility “particularly shocking.”

“The conduct of attacks against civilians and civilian objects is prohibited under international humanitarian law. Such attacks are unacceptable and must be stopped immediately,” he said.

The UN human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine has said civilian casualties have increased in recent months as Russia has resumed its air campaign. A recent report said May was the deadliest month for civilian casualties in almost a year.