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Mourning in Kyiv as rescuers clear rubble from children’s hospital

Deadly Russian strikes, including on a children's hospital, left Ukraine in mourning
Deadly Russian strikes, including on a children's hospital, left Ukraine in mourning - Copyright AFP Antonin UTZ
Deadly Russian strikes, including on a children's hospital, left Ukraine in mourning - Copyright AFP Antonin UTZ
Anatolii STEPANOV

Rescue workers were clearing debris and Ukraine was in mourning Tuesday, the day after deadly Russian strikes tore open a children’s hospital and sparked international condemnation.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said 38 people across Ukraine were killed — including four children — and 190 wounded in the wave of nearly 40 missiles that targeted several towns and cities.

Officials announced a day of mourning in the capital with flags to be hung at half mast and entertainment events postponed, as cranes and first responders were working at the scene of the Okhmatdyt paediatric hospital.

Zelensky said rescue work was ongoing at several of the attack sites and that patients from Okhmatdyt had been transferred to other facilities.

The interior ministry said it had completed its search for survivors at the hospital and that two people were killed there and 32 wounded. Eight children had been hospitalised, it said.

“We are continuing our work to increase the protection of our cities and communities from Russian terror. There will be decisions. The world has the necessary strength for this,” Zelensky added.

He has been urging allies to bolster Ukrainian air defence systems and was expected to renew those calls as a NATO summit kicked off later Tuesday in Washington.

The Ukrainian president also called for a United Nations Security Council meeting on the strikes that claimed some 10 lives in his hometown of Kryvyi Rig.

– Likely a ‘direct hit’ –

Zelensky said some 400 rescuers had responded to the strikes but hundreds of volunteers gathered at the Okhmatdyt complex on Monday to help clear rubble and search for survivors.

City officials told AFP that the two people killed at the hospital were both adults, a doctor and a visitor.

Kyiv’s mayor said three more people had been pulled dead from the rubble of a housing bloc in a central district that was also struck in the attack.

The total killed in the capital was 31 with 117 wounded, the city’s military administration said. 

Ukraine said a Russian Kh-101 cruise missile had smashed into the renowned children’s hospital but Moscow blamed Ukrainian air defence systems.

The Kremlin on Tuesday repeated its claims that Russian forces only target military infrastructure and deferred further questions to the defence ministry.

“We continue to insist that we do not strike civilian targets,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in a daily briefing.

The United Nations however said there was a “high likelihood” that the children’s hospital in Kyiv suffered “a direct hit” from a missile “launched by the Russian Federation”.

Danielle Bell, head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, told reporters a deeper investigation was needed but video footage “shows the weapon directly impacting the hospital.” 

Russian attacks on Ukraine persisted overnight with two people wounded in the southern Kherson region and another three hurt in the Zaporizhzhia region, two regions the Kremlin claim are part of Russia.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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