A Russian air strike hit a maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol in southern Ukraine despite a ceasefire agreement, Ukrainian officials said on March 9.
“Direct strike of Russian troops at the maternity hospital. People, children are under the wreckage,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, describing the attack as an “atrocity.”
Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk region, said that the air strike injured 17 people, including women in labor and hospital staff.
No deaths and no injuries among children have been confirmed, Kyrylenko said.
Kyrylenko added that the attack came during an agreed 12-hour pause in hostilities to allow civilians to safely escape from a number of towns and cities.
The Mariupol City Council described the damage caused by the strike as “colossal” and published footage showing burned out buildings, destroyed cars, and a large crater outside the hospital.
“We don’t understand how it’s possible in modern life to bomb a children’s hospital. People cannot believe that it’s true,” Mariupol Deputy Mayor Serhiy Orlov told BBC.
Sky News reported that the crater was estimated to be about six meters (20 feet) deep and nine meters (30 feet) wide.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova claimed, without providing evidence, that Ukrainian forces had established “combat positions” in the hospital
Zelensky posted a video showing how badly damaged the hospital was from the inside and repeated his call to Western leaders to impose a no-fly zone.
Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko also called on the global community in a video message on Telegram to “close the sky over Ukraine” following the bombing on the hospital.
The attack came as the United Nations Human Rights Office in Ukraine confirmed 1,424 civilian casualties, including 37 children killed, in the Russia’s war against Ukraine.
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