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Ukraine: Attack on children’s hospital as Russian airstrikes on cities kill at least 31

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Kyiv, Ukraine
CNN

A Russian missile strike partially destroyed a children’s hospital in Kyiv on Monday, sending terrified patients and their families running for their lives as officials fear more people could be trapped under the rubble.

Moscow launched a brazen daytime air assault on targets in cities across the country. Ukraine During the morning rush hour, at least 31 people were killed and 125 injured, according to Ukraine’s emergency service.

In an update on Telegram, the emergency service said the latest figure included the number of dead and wounded in the capital, which now stands at 20 dead and 61 wounded. Two people were killed and at least 10 wounded in the strike on Kyiv airport. Ochmatdet Hospital.

The facility is the largest children’s medical center in Ukraine and has played a vital role in caring for some of the sickest children across the country. Each year, the hospital performs about 7,000 surgeries — including treatments for cancer and blood diseases — according to Ukraine’s human rights commissioner, Dmitry Lubinets.

Videos from the scene showed volunteers working with police and security services to clear the rubble as smoke billowed from the hospital, while staff described trying to move children to safety in the aftermath of the attack. Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Lyashko said intensive care units, oncology departments and surgical units had been damaged.

“The main task here is to get people out from under the rubble and provide assistance to those we can reach, as we have already gotten all the first people out,” he said in a post on Telegram.

The attacks were part of a rare daylight bombardment of Ukrainian citiesThis comes a day before US President Joe Biden hosts a crucial NATO summit in Washington, where new announcements are expected on the alliance’s military, political and financial support for Kyiv.

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed on Monday that Moscow had struck “military-industrial facilities in Ukraine and air bases of the Ukrainian Armed Forces” using long-range, high-precision weapons.

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Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Doctors and passersby in the surrounding area immediately rushed to the rubble to help remove the debris that followed the strike.

Natalia Saroddinova, a senior nurse, described the moment the hospital was hit: “It was scary, but we survived.”

“It was loud, the windows were cracking,” she told CNN. “As soon as the siren went off, the kids were taken out into the hallway.”

She said two children were in the operating room at the time of the explosion, and were taken to a basement shelter once their surgeries were completed.

“Everything was filled with smoke, there was no air to breathe. The doctor was hit by shrapnel. Windows and doors were blown out. One of the nurses in the hospital was badly injured. My hands are still shaking. They are not letting anyone in now, they are afraid that the hospital will collapse,” Sardodinova added.

Yulia Vasilenko, the mother of an 11-year-old cancer patient in hospital, said her son Denis was evacuated abroad after the strike.

“My son takes painkillers. He has cancer. He hasn’t taken any medicine for half a day. He was brought down from the third floor. There was a lot of smoke and dust,” she said.

Irina Filimonova, a senior nurse in the pediatric urology department, told CNN that surgery on a two-year-old child was underway when the strike occurred.

“The lights went out, everything went out. We took out the instruments and turned on the flashlights. Everything was quickly stitched up. The child was taken down (to the shelter). I immediately ran to help clear the rubble. Some of my fellow nurses who worked in the operating rooms and some doctors were injured by glass fragments. Our department was destroyed,” Filimonova said.

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Another operating room nurse, Oksana Mosichuk, said they took shelter in the emergency room as the explosion rocked the building. She said the medical team then had to put out a fire that broke out in their department, including an operating table that caught fire.

“Luckily, everyone is alive. One of our colleagues was seriously injured, with many wounds and shrapnel, and was taken away by ambulance. I also had minor shrapnel wounds, but I am fine. It was very scary. I was afraid for the children,” she said.

Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Medical crews and community members quickly formed to clear rubble from damaged areas of the hospital and search for survivors.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a post on Twitter that the exact number of casualties at the hospital was not yet known and that “there are people under the rubble” but that everyone from doctors to local residents were helping clear the debris in the aftermath of the strike.

“Residential buildings, infrastructure and a children’s hospital were damaged. All services are working to save as many people as possible,” Zelensky wrote in a post on X.

The bombing hit targets in the capital, Kyiv, as well as in Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.

Zelensky later called for a meeting of the UN Security Council, while vowing to respond to Monday’s strikes.

Ukraine shot down 30 of the 38 missiles fired by Russia during its attack on Monday, the Ukrainian air force commander said in a statement.

Mykola Oleshchuk also said that Russian forces used ballistic, cruise, guided and air-launched ballistic missiles in the strikes.

Ukrainian security services said a cruise missile was used in the attack on the Okhmatyut hospital in Kyiv.

Reacting to Monday’s shelling, Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustam Umarov said the country’s infrastructure was targeted by 40 Kalibr cruise missiles and Kinzhal ballistic missiles, launched from Russia’s Volgograd region.

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In a statement, Umarov continued to call for more air defense systems to support the war-torn country. Zelensky has repeatedly called on the West to provide it with more air defense systems to better protect its cities. Last month, Biden praised the prioritization of air defense systems after the two presidents signed a security agreement between their countries on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy.

Umarov said on Monday that Kyiv continues “to work to ensure that the systems promised by our partners arrive in Ukraine as soon as possible.”

Sirens continued to wail over Kyiv following the attack, and video footage broadcast by CNN showed evacuees outside the hospital pushing children on stretchers to safety in shelters.

Later, dozens of volunteers delivered much-needed supplies and donations — including water, food, medicine and diapers — to the hospital.

Several European countries condemned the attacks, with France describing them as “barbaric”, while new British Prime Minister Keir Starmer said attacking innocent children was “the most depraved act”.

The French Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the strikes were “barbaric acts that directly and deliberately targeted a children’s hospital, and must be added to the list of war crimes for which Russia will be held accountable.”

According to the World Health Organization, there have been more than 1,600 attacks with heavy weapons on medical facilities in Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion, killing 141 people in these attacks.

Last December, 12 pregnant women and four newborn babies survived a maternity hospital in Dnipro that was badly damaged in an airstrike. Earlier, a hospital bombing in Dnipro killed 12 pregnant women and four newborn babies. Mariupol Maternity and Children’s Hospital Less than a month after Russian troops poured across the border, sparking international condemnation.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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