Mar 09, 2022
This is a developing news story... Check back for possible updates...
Local Ukrainian officials said Wednesday that a Russian airstrike hit a maternity and children's hospital in the besieged port city of Mariupol, inflicting heavy damage and burying patients under the rubble.
"The targeting and bombing of a children's hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine is a horrifying testament to illegality and impunity as well as inhumanity."
"The Russian occupying forces have dropped several bombs on the children's hospital. The destruction is colossal," said the Mariupol city council, adding that it is not yet sure how many injuries or deaths the attack caused.
Sharing a video of the airstrike's aftermath on Twitter, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russian forces of committing another "atrocity" and reiterated his demand for a no-fly zone, which NATO countries have rejected given the high risk of sparking a broader war with Russia.
\u201cMariupol. Direct strike of Russian troops at the maternity hospital. People, children are under the wreckage. Atrocity! How much longer will the world be an accomplice ignoring terror? Close the sky right now! Stop the killings! You have power but you seem to be losing humanity.\u201d— \u0412\u043e\u043b\u043e\u0434\u0438\u043c\u0438\u0440 \u0417\u0435\u043b\u0435\u043d\u0441\u044c\u043a\u0438\u0439 (@\u0412\u043e\u043b\u043e\u0434\u0438\u043c\u0438\u0440 \u0417\u0435\u043b\u0435\u043d\u0441\u044c\u043a\u0438\u0439) 1646839430
In a statement, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee David Miliband said, "The targeting and bombing of a children's hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine is a horrifying testament to illegality and impunity as well as inhumanity."
Miliband said the IRC condemned the attack by Russian "in the strongest possible terms, alongside the targeting of evacuation corridors, the breaches of ceasefires and the sieges of urban areas that have been widely reported."
Such conduct, he added, "speaks to a global syndrome where the age of impunity reigns supreme."
\u201c\u26a1\ufe0f Russian airstrike destroys maternity, children's hospital in Mariupol. \n\nAccording to President Volodymyr Zelensky, there are still adults and kids under the rubble. The number of victims is yet unknown, local authorities report.\n\nVideo: Mariupol City Council\u201d— The Kyiv Independent (@The Kyiv Independent) 1646841288
According to the United Nations, dozens of Ukrainian children have been killed during Russia's full-scale assault on Ukraine, which is about to enter its third week with no end in sight.
In his comments, Miliband said the intentional targeting of a hospital would be a clear violation of international humanitarian law, and that "any and all violations of IHL must be investigated and perpetrators held to account."
Asked to comment on the reported hospital bombing, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov toldReuters that "Russian forces do not fire on civilian targets."
Mariupol, located in southeastern Ukraine, has been under near-constant shelling over the past several days as Russian troops surround the strategic port city. Vadym Boichenko, the city's mayor, told the Financial Times that Russian forces "are trying to exterminate us."
As the Associated Pressreports, "A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in this encircled city of 430,000, and Tuesday brought no relief: An attempt to evacuate civilians and deliver badly needed food, water, and medicine through a designated safe corridor failed, with Ukrainian officials saying Russian forces had fired on the convoy before it reached the city."
Ahead of the strike on the Mariupol hospital--which was carried out during an agreed ceasefire--the World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday that it has confirmed 18 attacks on Ukrainian healthcare facilities thus far, resulting in 10 deaths and 16 injuries.
"Attacks on healthcare are in violation of international humanitarian law," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed last week.
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