Outrage as Russia bombs Mariupol maternity hospital

Russia’s devastation of Mariupol

Russia's devastation of Mariupol and its maternity hospital

A Russian air strike badly damaged a maternity hospital in the besieged Ukranian port city of Mariupol on Wednesday, burying patients under rubble and injuring women in labour, Ukraine said.

The bombing, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called an “atrocity,” took place despite an agreed ceasefire to enable thousands of civilians trapped in the city to escape.

The city council said the hospital had been hit several times by an air strike, causing “colossal” destruction.

“Direct strike of Russian troops at the maternity hospital. People, children are under the wreckage,” Zelenskiy said on Twitter.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, asked by Reuters for comment, said: “Russian forces do not fire on civilian targets.”

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Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry posted footage of what it said was the hospital showing blasted-out windows and piles of smouldering rubble.

The Donetsk region’s governor said 17 people were wounded, including women in labour. The United Nations human rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine was verifying the number of casualites, a U.N. spokesperson in Geneva said.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Russia had broken the ceasefire around the southern port, which lies between Russian-backed separatist areas of eastern Ukraine and Crimea, annexed by Moscow from Ukraine in 2014.

“Russia continues holding hostage over 400,000 people in Mariupol, blocks humanitarian aid and evacuation. Indiscriminate shelling continues,” he wrote on Twitter. “Almost 3,000 newborn babies lack medicine and food.”

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