Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Wednesday a children's hospital in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol has been destroyed by Russian air strikes and that “children are under the wreckage”, sharing a video of the destroyed facility.
“Mariupol. 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,” Zelenskyy said in a post on Twitter.
The Ukrainian leader has repeatedly called for the West to impose a no fly zone over his country to shield the civilians from Russian aerial assaults but NATO sees that as an “escalatory” move that would put it in direct confrontation with Moscow.
The city council of Mariupol said: “The Russian occupying forces have dropped several bombs on the children's hospital. The destruction is colossal,” adding that it has not yet determined the figures of resulting casualties.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Dmytro Kuleba said: “Russia continues holding hostage over 400,000 people in Mariupol, blocks humanitarian aid and evacuation. Indiscriminate shelling continues. Almost 3,000 newborn babies lack medicine and food. I urge the world to act! Force Russia to stop its barbaric war on civilians and babies!”
Petrifying war crime in Mariupol. Russian air strike targeted a hospital and a maternity house. We could stop this barbarism by protecting our skies. For the sake of humanity, provide us with aircraft, now! Lives are being lost while this is being considered over and over again. pic.twitter.com/CkacLlF0ZQ— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) March 9, 2022
Russia denies targeting civilians in its assault on Ukraine.
So far, the conflict has led to dozens of civilian casualties. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said on Wednesday that it recorded 516 killed and 908 injured, estimating that the real figures are “considerably higher.”
“Most of the civilian casualties are from airstrikes and explosive weapons used by Russian forces with wide area effects, including heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems. As a result, hundreds of residential buildings in many cities, including Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Mariupol and Kyiv have been damaged and destroyed,” the OHCHR added.