Russia launched missiles at Ukraine cities, children’s hospital hit

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Rescuers work at Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital that was damaged during a Russian missile strikes, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 8, 2024. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

By Olena Harmash and Max Hunder Reuters

Russia rained missiles down on cities across Ukraine in broad daylight on Monday morning, killing at least 29 civilians and badly damaging Kyiv’s main children’s hospital in the deadliest air strike in months, officials said.

Hundreds of people rushed to clear debris at the hospital, where windows had been smashed and panels ripped off. Parents holding babies walked in the street outside, dazed and sobbing after the rare daylight aerial attack.

“It was scary. I couldn’t breathe, I was trying to cover (my baby). I was trying to cover him with this cloth so that he could breathe,” Svitlana Kravchenko, 33, told Reuters.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia fired more than 40 missiles, damaging residential and commercial buildings and infrastructure in Kyiv, his home city of Kryvyi Rih, the central city of Dnipro and two eastern cities.

Ten people were killed and 35 wounded in the main wave of attacks on Kyiv, authorities said. Some two hours later, debris from another missile attack hit a different hospital in Kyiv, killing four more and injuring three more, the emergency services said.

Eleven were confirmed dead in Kryvyi Rih and over 40 wounded, the emergency services said. Three people had been killed in the eastern town of Pokrovsk where missiles hit an industrial facility, the regional governor said. One person was also killed in the city of Dnipro, officials said.

“The whole world must act as decisively as it can to put an end to Russian air strikes. Murder – this is what Putin brings. Only together we can achieve true peace and security,” Zelenskiy wrote on Telegram.

The Russian Defence Ministry said its forces had carried out strikes on defence industry targets and aviation bases in Ukraine.

Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, although its attacks have killed thousands of civilians since it launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

The attack came a day before leaders of NATO countries were due to begin a three-day summit of the military alliance that Zelenskiy is expected to attend with the war in Ukraine one of the focuses.

“This callous aggression – a total disregard for human life, jeopardizing European & Transatlantic security – is why leaders will make significant security commitments to Ukraine this week,” the U.S. ambassador to Kyiv, Bridget Brink, posted on X.

PLEA FOR AIR DEFENCES

Defence Minister Rustem Umerov said Ukraine still lacked enough air defences and urged Kyiv’s allies to supply more systems promptly to help protect its cities and infrastructure from regular Russian aerial attacks.

The power grid has already sustained so much damage from targeted Russian air strikes that began in March that electricity cuts have become widespread and the whirring sound of backup power generators in the streets has become ubiquitous.

DTEK, Ukraine’s largest private power producer, said three electricity substations and electricity networks had been damaged in the capital.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the attack on the capital was one of the largest of the war.

“We heard an explosion, then we were showered with debris,” Svitlana told Reuters after she and her husband Viktor, emerged from a shelter at the hospital with their two-month-old baby.

The baby was unharmed, but Svitlana had suffered cuts, and their car was totally buried under the rubble of the destroyed building across the courtyard from the main ward.

Another explosion rang out over the city more than an hour after the strike as the air force issued a warning to residents that air defences could engage Russian surveillance drones in the area.

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