As Russian forces extended their siege on Ukrainian towns, an airstrike on a maternity facility in the coastal city of Mariupol injured women ready to give birth and buried children in the rubble. Two hospitals in a city west of Kyiv were also bombed.
Since the Russian invasion began two weeks ago, the World Health Organization has recorded 18 strikes on medical institutions.
At least 17 people were injured in the attack on a medical facility in Mariupol, according to Ukrainian officials.
When the sequence of bombs hit, the earth shook for more than a mile. Explosions blasted out windows and tore the front of one structure apart. Police and troops rushed to the site to help casualties, carrying a wounded lady on a stretcher through flaming and wrecked vehicles.
Another mother sobbed as she hugged her child in her arms. A explosive hole in the courtyard was at least two floors deep.
Standing among the debris, Volodymir Nikulin, a top regional police officer, remarked, “Today Russia committed a big crime.” “There is no justification for this war crime.”
Bombs exploded in two hospitals in Zhytomyr, a city of 260,000 people west of Kyiv, one of which being a children’s hospital, according to Mayor Serhii Sukhomlyn on Facebook. There were no casualties, he said.
The Mariupol attack, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, trapped children and others under rubble.
“It’s a children’s hospital,” says the narrator. A maternity facility. What threat did they pose to the Russian Federation?” In his nightly video message, Zelenskyy questioned, switching to Russian to convey his disgust at the strike. “What sort of country is this, Russia, that is scared of hospitals, especially maternity facilities, and destroys them?”
He asked the West to implement even harder sanctions so that Russia “can no longer carry out this slaughter.”
Zelenskyy tweeted a video of brightly painted halls scattered with twisted metal.
“There are few things more despicable than preying on the helpless and weak,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin will be called “to account for his heinous crimes.”
Since the violence began, the WHO has recorded ten deaths in attacks on health institutions and ambulances. It was unclear whether the assault on the maternity facility was included in the totals.
In a phone discussion with his Ukrainian colleague, Dmytro Kuleba, US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken criticized Russia’s “unconscionable actions,” according to the State Department.
Russia’s military is suffering more than expected two weeks into its attack on Ukraine, but Putin’s invading army of more than 150,000 men maintains potentially overwhelming firepower as it closes in on major cities.
Despite frequent intense shelling of inhabited areas, American military authorities reported little change on the ground in the past 24 hours, with the exception of Russian advances in hard battle against the cities of Kharkiv and Mykolaiv. To assess the military position, the officials talked on the condition of anonymity.
Authorities have declared additional cease-fires to allow tens of thousands of residents to flee bombed cities. Three humanitarian routes functioned on Wednesday, according to Zelenskyy, from Sumy in the northeast near the Russian border, Kyiv suburbs, and Enerhodar in the south, where Russian soldiers gained control of a massive nuclear facility.
He estimated that roughly 35,000 individuals were able to escape. On Thursday, more evacuations are expected.
People poured out of Kyiv’s outskirts, many heading for the city center, as the capital was rocked by explosions and air raid sirens. The refugees intended to board trains destined for western Ukraine regions that were not under assault from there.
Because the Ukrainians blew up the concrete span leading to Kyiv days earlier to delay the Russian advance, civilians evacuating the Kyiv suburb of Irpin were forced to traverse the slick wooden boards of a temporary bridge.
Firefighters pulled an elderly man to safety in a wheelbarrow, a youngster held the hand of a helping soldier, and a woman inched her way ahead, carrying a fluffy kitten under her winter coat, while occasional gunfire echoed behind them. They walked by a smashed vehicle with the words “Our Ukraine” scrawled on its windows in dust.
“At the moment, we only have a little window of opportunity,” said Yevhen Nyshchuk, a member of Ukraine’s territorial defense forces. “Even if there is a cease-fire in place right now, shells might fall at any time.”
Attempts to build safe evacuation channels in recent days have mainly failed due to what Ukraine claims are Russian assaults. In a phone conversation with Germany’s chancellor, Putin, though, accused hardline Ukrainian nationalists of impeding the evacuations.
Local officials rushed to bury the dead from the last two weeks of war in a mass grave in Mariupol, a city of 430,000 inhabitants on the Sea of Azov. At one of the city’s historic cemeteries, workmen excavated a ditch about 25 meters (yards) long and made the sign of the cross as they pushed bodies covered in carpets or sacks over the side.
According to Zelenskyy’s administration, almost 1,200 people perished during the city’s nine-day siege.
Since Putin’s forces entered, tens of thousands of civilians and soldiers are believed to have died. According to the United Nations, more than 2 million people have fled the nation, the largest refugee exodus in Europe since World War II ended.
Fighting knocked off electricity to the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power station, increasing concerns about the spent radioactive material that must be kept cold at the site. The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency, however, said the loss of electricity had “no major impact on safety.”
The crisis is likely to worsen as Moscow’s troops increase their city-bombing campaign in reaction to what appears to be stronger Ukrainian resistance and greater Russian losses than expected.
Russia may try to deploy chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, according to the Biden administration. The White House has dismissed Russian accusations that it is developing illicit chemical weapons in the nation it has occupied.
Without providing proof, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused Ukraine of conducting chemical and biological weapons facilities with US help this week. The accusation, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, is “preposterous,” and it might be part of a Russian attempt to build the framework for its own deployment of such weapons against Ukraine.
As Putin seeks to recover momentum, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace predicted that Russia’s attack will become “more savage and indiscriminate.”
Fighting has continuing northwest of Kyiv, according to the British Defense Ministry. Russian soldiers ringed Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, and Mariupol, which were extensively bombarded.
According to Ukraine’s military, Russian soldiers are stationing military equipment on fields and near residential structures in the northern city of Chernihiv. According to the report, Russians dressed in civilian clothes are marching on Mykolaiv, a Black Sea shipbuilding town with a population of half a million people.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military is bolstering fortifications in cities around the country, including in the north, south, and east, while soldiers surrounding Kyiv are “holding the line” against the Russian advance, according to officials.