Advertisement

U.N. says attack on Ukraine's main children's hospital direct hit from missile

The United Nations said that a huge blast that killed two people and injured more than 50, including seven children, at Ukraine's main Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital was likely due to a direct strike by a missile that appeared to be Russian, contradicting claims by Moscow that a stray missile launched by Ukranian air defenses was responsible. Photo by Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA-EFE
The United Nations said that a huge blast that killed two people and injured more than 50, including seven children, at Ukraine's main Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital was likely due to a direct strike by a missile that appeared to be Russian, contradicting claims by Moscow that a stray missile launched by Ukranian air defenses was responsible. Photo by Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA-EFE

July 9 (UPI) -- The United Nations said Tuesday that a huge blast that killed two people and injured more than 50, including seven children, at Ukraine's main Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital in Kyiv was likely due to a direct strike by a missile.

"Analysis of the video footage and an assessment made at the incident site indicates a high likelihood that the children's hospital suffered a direct hit rather than receiving damage due to an intercepted weapon system," Danielle Bell, head of mission for the U.N. human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine, told a briefing in Geneva via video-link.

Advertisement

Calling it "one of the most egregious attacks we have seen since the onset of the full-scale invasion," on a facility to which parents bring their children from across the country for treatment for cancer, kidney disease and other life-threatening conditions, Bell reiterated calls by the U.N.'s Human Rights chief, Volker Turk, for a "prompt. thorough and independent investigation."

Advertisement

She said about 1,000 staff had been caring for around 670 child patients at the time and that the number of victims would been far higher had staff not evacuated the children to an underground bunker as soon as the air raid warning sounded earlier Monday.

Bell said her team who spent the day at the hospital in the east of the city surveying the scene and interviewing witnesses had concluded that the missile appeared to have been launched by Russian forces, although they could not be certain.

Ukrainian authorities said they had found turbine engine fragments that indicated the hospital had been hit by a Russian cruise missile, but Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova repeated unsubstantiated claims that the hospital had actually been struck by a Ukrainian surface-to-air missile.

U.N. Human Rights High Commissioner Turk condemned the attack, and a second indirect attack on the ISIDA women's reproductive health center that killed seven people shortly afterwards, and urged "those with influence to do everything in their power" to stop the attacks which he said were abominable.

"Among the victims were Ukraine's sickest children," he said.

Turk added that his team had witnessed children receiving cancer treatment in beds set up in parks and on streets "amongst chaos, dust and debris" adding that health officials had reported the hospital had lost all power, preventing the use of ventilators and other urgent care.

Advertisement

"Civilians must be protected, and the laws of war strictly adhered to. There must be prompt, thorough and independent investigations into these latest grave attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, and those responsible must be held to account," he said.

U.S. President Joe Biden condemned the attacks as a "horrific reminder of Russia's brutality," warning that the world was at a critical juncture when strong support for Ukraine had never been more important and appealing for Russian aggression not to be ignored.

He said he would make clear U.S. support for Ukraine "is unshakeable" when he meets with President Volodymyr Zelensky this week at the NATO Summit in Washington which would be unveiling new measures to bolster Ukraine's air defenses to help protect cities and civilians from Russian strikes.

The attacks on the hospitals came amid a wave of missile strikes on cities across Eastern and Central Ukraine on Monday that killed at least 37 people and injured more than 170 in the largest aerial assault on the country in months.

Latest Headlines