Children’s Hospital Struck by Russian Missiles in Kyiv and Other Ukrainian Cities

Children’s Hospital Struck by Russian Missiles in Kyiv and Other Ukrainian Cities

Russian missiles rained down on a renowned children’s hospital in Kyiv and throughout the capital, as well as central and eastern Ukraine, on Monday, killing dozens and injuring more than 120, officials said. Thick plumes of smoke rose from several Kyiv neighborhoods, and the Ukrainian Health Ministry shared a video showing charred exteriors and blown-out windows at the capital’s Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital, and one of its complexes that had been reduced to rubble. Video and photos by Ukrainian officials showed medical workers and patients in bloodied clothes, walking around the hospital grounds apparently dazed. Video from inside the hospital showed windows blown out onto patient beds and blood spattered on the floor. Others from the scene showed a crowd of people, both medical workers and civilians, helping rescuers clear the debris in one of the hospital’s buildings, much of which was still smoldering.

Kyiv city administrators said that two adults were killed in the attack on Okhmatdyt Hospital. Another 20 people were killed and 82 were injured in the strikes on the city. The city administration said two children were among the dead, although it was not clear if they died at the children’s hospital. More were feared trapped under the debris. A wounded child is carried to safety after a missile strike on the Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital in Kyiv on Monday.

In a post on X, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the children’s hospital is one of Europe’s most important medical facilities. “Okhmatdyt has been saving and restoring the health of thousands of children,” he said. Seven of the injured were children at the hospital, according to a Telegram post from Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, who added that one of the adults killed there was a doctor. Klitschko has declared Tuesday a day of mourning for the victims. It was not immediately clear whether the hospital had been directly hit or whether fragments of intercepted missiles fell on it.

People were killed and injured in “practically in every district of the capital,” Andrii Yermak, head of Zelenskyy’s office, said in a separate post on Telegram. “It was an attack on civilians when there were many people on the streets,” he added. Elsewhere, officials said at least 10 people died in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih. Ukraine’s air force said that Russian forces had launched multiple ballistic and cruise missiles against Ukrainian targets, while explosions were felt and heard across the capital. The attack was the largest and most widespread on Kyiv in months. The daylight attack included the use of Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, one of the most advanced Russian weapons, the air force said. The Kinzhal flies at 10 times the speed of sound, making it hard to intercept. City buildings shook from the blasts.

According to the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, another medical facility was also damaged in Kyiv’s Dniprovsky district, with four people killed. The service said falling rocket debris was recorded earlier in the day in the district. Explosions were also reported in other cities across Ukraine, including in Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, Sloviansk, and Kramatorsk, Zelenskyy said. “More than 40 missiles of different types were used,” he said in a Telegram post. The Interior Ministry said later Monday that 31 people died in the Russian strikes across Ukraine and 125 more were injured.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement Monday that it launched strikes “with long-range precision weapons” on Ukrainian military facilities and aviation bases. Despite footage of widespread damage to residential buildings and medical facilities in Ukrainian cities, the ministry denied reports from Ukrainian officials about Russia intentionally striking civilian targets. Instead, it blamed the damage in Kyiv on “the fall of a Ukrainian air defense missile launched from an anti-aircraft missile system within the city.”

But the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said that Russia used a Kh-101 missile to directly strike the Okhmatdyt Hospital. The agency said its investigators found fragments of the missile at the site and referred to the attack as “a war crime.” Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said in a Telegram post the attacks showed his country’s air defense capabilities remained insufficient. Zelenskyy and Ukraine’s other top officials have been calling for more advanced air defense systems from their Western partners for months. The attacks come on the eve of a three-day NATO summit in Washington, which will look at how to reassure Ukraine of the alliance’s unwavering support.

At the Okhmatdyt children’s hospital in Kyiv, rescuers searched for victims under the rubble of a partially collapsed, two-story wing of the facility. At the hospital’s main 10-story building, windows and doors were blown out, and walls were blackened. Blood was spattered on the floor in one room. The intensive care unit, operating theaters, and oncology departments all were damaged, officials said. At the time of the strike, three heart operations were being performed, and debris from the explosion contaminated the patients’ open chests, Health Minister Viktor Liashko said. The hospital lost water, light, and oxygen in the attack, and the patients were transferred to other hospitals, he told Ukrainian television.

Rescuers formed a line, passing bricks and other debris to each other as they sifted through rubble. Smoke rose from the building, and volunteers and emergency crews worked in protective masks. Some mothers carried their children away on their backs, while others waited in the courtyard with their children as calls to doctors’ phones rang unanswered. A few hours after the initial strike, another air-raid siren sent many of them hurrying to the hospital’s shelter. Led by a flashlight through the shelter’s dark corridors, mothers carried their bandaged children in their arms, and medical workers carried other patients on gurneys. Volunteers handed out candy to try to calm the children.

Marina Ploskonos said her 4-year-old son had spinal surgery Friday. “My child is terrified,” she said. “This shouldn’t be happening, it’s a children’s hospital,” she said, bursting into tears. Kyiv city administrators declared July 9 a day of mourning, when entertainment events are prohibited and flags are lowered on buildings. Ukraine’s Security Service said it found wreckage from a Russian Kh-101 cruise missile at the site and opened proceedings on war crime charges. The Kh-101 is an air-launched missile that flies low to avoid detection by radar. Ukraine said it shot down 11 of 13 Kh-101 missiles launched Monday.

Hospitals and other medical facilities are protected from military strikes under international law unless they are being used for military operations. The International Criminal Court’s founding charter says it is a war crime to intentionally attack buildings “dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not military objectives.” Late last month, the court issued arrest warrants for Russia’s former defense minister and its military chief of staff for attacking Ukraine’s electricity network.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said the strikes targeted Ukrainian defense plants and military air bases and were successful. It denied aiming at any civilian facilities and claimed without evidence that pictures from Kyiv indicated the damage was caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile. Since early in the war that is well into its third year, Russian officials have regularly claimed that Moscow’s forces never attack civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, including Associated Press reporting. More than 1,600 medical facilities have been damaged since the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine and 214 ruined completely, according to Ukrainian Health Ministry statistics published last month.

Col. Yurii Ignat of the Ukrainian air force said Russia has been improving the effectiveness of its airstrikes, equipping its missiles with enhancements, including so-called heat traps that evade air defense systems. In Monday’s attack, the cruise missiles flew as low as 50 meters (160 feet) off the ground, making them harder to hit, he said in comments sent to AP. About three hours after the first strikes, more missiles hit Kyiv and partially destroyed a private medical center. Four people were killed there, Ukraine’s Emergency Service said. In the capital’s Shevchenkivskyi district, a three-story section of a residential building was destroyed. Emergency crews searched for casualties, and AP reporters saw them remove three bodies. The powerful blast wave scorched nearby buildings, shattered windows, and flung a dog into a neighboring yard, resident Halina Sichievka said. “Now we don’t have anything in our apartment, no windows, no doors, nothing. Nothing at all,” the 28-year-old said.

Some of the weapons used in the attack, Ukraine’s air force said, were Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, which are among the most advanced Russian weapons. They fly at 10 times the speed of sound, making them hard to intercept. City buildings shook from the blasts. Three electricity substations were damaged or destroyed in two districts of Kyiv, energy company DTEK said.

Source: NBC News, AP News, BBC News, Reuters

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