Ukrainian’s president accused Russia of carrying out genocide after officials said Russian aircraft bombed a children’s hospital on Wednesday, burying patients in rubble despite a ceasefire deal for people to flee the besieged city of Mariupol.
The attack, which authorities said injured women in labour and left children in the wreckage, is the latest grim incident of the 14-day invasion, the biggest assault on a European state since 1945.
The Mariupol city council said the hospital had been hit several times in what the White House called a “barbaric use of military force to go after innocent civilians”.
The destruction took place despite a Russian pledge to halt firing so at least some trapped civilians could escape the city, where hundreds of thousands have been sheltering without water or power for more than a week.
“What kind of country is this, the Russian Federation, which is afraid of hospitals, is afraid of maternity hospitals, and destroys them?” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a televised address late on Wednesday.
Zelenskiy repeated his call for the West to tighten sanctions on Russia “so that they sit down at the negotiating table and end this brutal war”. The bombing of the children’s hospital, he said, was “proof that a genocide of Ukrainians is taking place”.