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Ukraine, Russia set for UN showdown over strikes

President Volodymyr Zelensky has been urging allies to bolster Ukrainian air defense systems
President Volodymyr Zelensky has been urging allies to bolster Ukrainian air defense systems - Copyright AFP Roman PILIPEY
President Volodymyr Zelensky has been urging allies to bolster Ukrainian air defense systems - Copyright AFP Roman PILIPEY

Ukraine is set for a fiery clash with Russia at the UN Security Council Tuesday after Kyiv’s allies called for an emergency meeting in the wake of deadly strikes by Moscow.

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 on Monday.

Russian diplomat Dmitry Polyansky said “we will inform our colleagues of facts that completely do not confirm the Ukrainian and Western version of the incident.”

Russia currently holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council and its envoy to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, indicated earlier this month he will take a firm line with Ukraine and its Western allies.

As a permanent member of the UN’s top security body, Moscow wields a veto which it has used on several occasions to thwart efforts to censure its war in Ukraine.

Kyiv said on Monday a children’s hospital was struck by a Russian cruise missile with components produced in NATO member countries, and announced a day of mourning in the capital.

Russia hit back by claiming the extensive missile damage in Kyiv was caused by Ukrainian air defense systems.

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

However, the United Nations 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.”

– ‘Russian terror’ –

Permanent Security Council member Britain was among those that called for the emergency meeting on the deadly strikes.

“I also thank all the leaders who supported us and are preparing new joint steps to protect life from Russian terror,” Zelensky wrote on his Telegram channel.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the deadly Russian strikes in Ukraine as “particularly shocking,” his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Monday.

Dujarric said “directing attacks against civilians and civilian objects is prohibited by international humanitarian law and any such attacks are unacceptable. And must cease immediately.”

UN rights chief Volker Turk echoed Guterres, calling the attacks “abominable,” and saying that “the strikes severely damaged the intensive care, surgical and oncology wards of Okhmatdyt, which is Ukraine’s largest children’s referral hospital.”

“Among the victims were Ukraine’s sickest children,” Turk said, adding: “This is abominable, and I implore those with influence to do everything in their power to ensure these attacks stop immediately.”

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

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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