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Russian airstrikes kill at least 41 in Ukraine, damage Kyiv children’s hospital

Russia rained missiles down on cities across Ukraine in broad daylight on Monday morning, killing at least 41 civilians and badly damaging Kyiv’s main children’s hospital in the deadliest airstrike in months, officials said. 

Deadly attacks also occurred Monday in the cities of Kryvyi Rih and Pokrovsk.

Kyiv children’s hospital destroyed in Russian airstrikes, dozens killed

A barrage of Russian missile attacks against Kyiv largely destroyed the Ukrainian city’s largest children’s hospital and left other buildings in the city in ruins. Dozens have been killed in the airstrikes that may have been timed to coincide with NATO meetings.

Russia blasted the main children’s hospital in Kyiv with a missile in broad daylight on Monday and rained missiles down on other cities across Ukraine, killing at least 41 civilians in the deadliest wave of airstrikes for months.

Parents holding babies walked in the street outside, dazed and sobbing after the rare daylight aerial attack. Windows were smashed and panels ripped off, and hundreds of Kyiv residents were helping clear debris.

“We heard an explosion, then we were showered with debris,” Svitlana Kravchenko, 33, told Reuters after she and her husband, Viktor, went out from the shelter. Their two-month-old baby had been unharmed, but Svitlana had suffered cuts, and their car was totally buried under the rubble of the destroyed building across the courtyard from the main ward.

“It was scary. I couldn’t breathe, I was trying to cover [my baby]. I was trying to cover him with this cloth so that he could breathe,” she said.

Dr. Lesia Lysytsia had to scramble to help patients at the hospital in the wake of the attack.

“It’s impossible to explain that you cannot protect your patients,” she told CBC Radio’s As It Happens on Monday.

Hospital workers and civilians stand around outdoors, with some children seen with IV's.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who stopped in Poland before heading off to Washington for a NATO summit, said three children were among the dead and that more than 170 people were injured.

Writing on the Telegram messaging app, Zelenskyy said more than 100 buildings had been damaged, including the hospital, a maternity centre, a business centre and homes.

“The Russian terrorists must answer for this,” he wrote.

He also called on Kyiv’s Western allies to give a firm response to the attack.

“Being concerned does not stop terror. Condolences are not a weapon.”

Zelenskyy echoed those remarks during a news conference in Warsaw alongside Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

“We will retaliate against these people. We will deliver a powerful response from our side to Russia, for sure. The question to our partners is: can they respond?” Zelenskyy said.

The leaders of NATO countries will on Tuesday begin a three-day summit focusing on the war in Ukraine.

Dozens of people are shown at a distance standing on rubble near a building with a heavily damaged section.

The Interior Ministry said there had also been damage in the central cities of Kryvyi Rih and Dnipro and two eastern cities.

The government proclaimed a day of mourning on Tuesday, saying the attack demonstrated that Ukraine urgently needs an upgrade of its air defences from its Western allies.

Air defences shot down 30 of 38 missiles, the air force said.

An online video obtained by Reuters showed a missile falling toward the children’s hospital followed by a large explosion. The location of the video was verified from visible landmarks.

The Security Service of Ukraine identified the missile as a Kh-101 cruise missile.

Kyiv’s military authorities said 27 people were killed in the capital and 82 were wounded in both the main missile volley and a strike that came two hours later.

Security Council meeting called

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the attack was one of the largest of the war, damaging seven districts. The health minister said five units of the children’s hospital were damaged and children were evacuated to other facilities.

Eleven were confirmed dead in the Dnipropetrovsk region and 68 were wounded, regional officials said. Three people were killed in the eastern town of Pokrovsk where missiles hit an industrial facility, the regional governor said.

Smoke is seen as part of a building appears cratered and heavily damaged.

Diplomats said the United Nations Security Council would meet on Tuesday at the request of Britain, France, Ecuador, Slovenia and the United States.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, deplored the attacks, saying the victims included “Ukraine’s sickest children.”

Other world leaders expressed horror at the attacks, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling it “abhorrent.”

“It cannot be justified,” Trudeau said in a statement. “My heart goes out to the families who are grieving. Canada’s commitment to Ukraine remains as strong as ever.”

“Attacking innocent children. The most depraved of actions,” said newly elected British Prime Minister Keir Starmer. “We stand with Ukraine against Russian aggression — our support won’t falter.”

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday that deadly Russian missile strikes in Ukraine, including on the main children’s hospital in Kyiv, were “a horrific reminder of Russia’s brutality.”

The Russian Defence Ministry said that its forces had carried out strikes on defence industry targets and aviation bases in Ukraine.

Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, although its attacks have killed thousands of civilians since it launched its invasion in February 2022.

Ukraine’s prosecutor general said he had discussed the attacks with International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan, adding that his office would be sharing evidence with the ICC.

Ukraine Defence Minister Rustem Umerov said the military still lacked enough air defences and urged Kyiv’s allies to supply more systems promptly to help protect its cities and infrastructure from regular Russian aerial attacks.

Air force representative Col. Yuri Ignat said it became more difficult to repel Russian attacks as Moscow’s forces kept enhancing their bombardment tactics.

“Enemy missiles are equipped with additional means, including radar and thermal traps,” Ignat wrote on Facebook.

The missiles flew at extremely low altitudes during Monday’s attacks, he said.

Ukraine’s largest private energy producer DTEK said three electricity substations and electricity networks in the capital Kyiv were also damaged.

The power system has already sustained so much damage from targeted Russian airstrikes that began in March that electricity cuts have become widespread.

With files from CBC Radio’s As It Happens

Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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