- The city council says the hospital was hit by several Russian bombs
- Russia agreed to the eviction before the ceasefire
- Moscow refuses to target civilians
- Kyiv calls for a ceasefire to regain power in Chernobyl
LVV, Ukraine, March 9 (Reuters) – Ukraine on Wednesday accused Russia of bombing a children’s hospital in the besieged port of Mariupol during a ceasefire agreed to allow civilians trapped in the city to flee.
Russia said on Wednesday it was setting fire to thousands of civilians fleeing Mariupol and other besieged cities. But the city council said the hospital had been hit several times by airstrikes.
“The devastation is huge,” it said in an online post.
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President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called it a “cruelty”.
“Direct strike by Russian troops at maternity hospital. People, children are in the rubble,” he said on Twitter.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by Reuters: “Russian forces are not firing on civilian targets.”
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has released video footage of a three – storey building showing windows showing holes in windows. Large piles of smoking rubble scattered the scene.
The governor of the Donetsk region said 17 people were injured, including women involved in childbirth. Reports could not be verified immediately.
Earlier, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said that Russia had broken the ceasefire in 2014 around the southern port between eastern Ukraine, which was annexed by Moscow from Moscow, and Russian-backed separatist areas of Crimea.
“Russia continues to hold more than 400,000 people hostage in Mariupol, preventing humanitarian aid and evacuation. The indiscriminate shelling continues,” he wrote on Twitter. “Nearly 3,000 newborns have no medicine or food.”
Ukraine says at least 1,170 civilians have been killed since the invasion began, and 47 more were buried in a mass grave on Wednesday. Unable to verify statistics.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has blamed Ukraine’s failure to evacuate and said the situation facing civilians in Mariupol had reached a “catastrophic level”.
A senior U.S. defense official said there were indications that the Russian military was using so-called “dumb” bombs that were not precisely directed, and that Washington had observed “increasing damage to civilian infrastructure and civilian casualties.” read more
Local officials in other cities said Wednesday that some civilians had left through safe corridors, including Sumi in eastern Ukraine and Enerhodor in the south.
However, local authorities said Russian forces had prevented a convoy of 50 buses from evacuating civilians from the city of Pucha outside Kiev. Talks continued on allowing the convoy to leave.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported on the situation in Ukraine: “In two weeks, houses have collapsed to the ground.”
“Families are stranded underground for hours seeking refuge from the fighting. Hundreds of thousands of people have no access to food, water, heat, electricity or medical care.”
More than 2 million people have fled Ukraine since President Vladimir Putin launched a land, sea and air invasion on February 24. Moscow is disarming its neighbor and calling it a “special military operation” to oust the so-called “neo-Nazi” leaders.
Russian forces are spread across the northeastern, eastern and southeastern borders of Ukraine. Fighting broke out in the suburbs of the capital, Kiev, while the second city of Ukraine, Kharkiv, was bombed.
The United Nations Office of Human Rights in Geneva said it had confirmed 516 civilian deaths and 908 injuries since the conflict, shortly before reports of a hospital attack.
Kiev and its Western allies say Russia is finding excuses to justify an unprovoked war against a democracy with a population of 44 million. Moscow has accused Ukraine of trying to develop biological or nuclear weapons.
On Wednesday, the Kremlin said Washington should explain “Ukrainian biological weapons laboratories,” which Washington has already dismissed as “ridiculous propaganda.” read more
The operator of Ukraine’s nuclear plant said he was concerned about the safety of Chernobyl, the worst-prone area in the world, where a power outage caused by fighting could not cool the spent nuclear fuel.
The reserve diesel generators have a capacity of 48 hours, said Foreign Minister Guleba. “After that, the cooling systems of the storage facility for the spent nuclear fuel will be shut off so that radiation leaks will be immediate,” he said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said the amount of heat generated by the fuel and the amount of cooling water “is sufficient to efficiently remove heat without the need for electricity.” read more
The war has isolated Russia economically and has drawn almost international condemnation.
The United States on Tuesday banned Russian oil imports, while Western companies are rapidly exiting the Russian market. The ruling United Russia party has said it intends to seize the assets of outgoing foreign companies.
Both Ukraine and Russia are major exporters of food and metals. They hold about one-third of the world’s grain trade. Global food prices have soared, punishing distant lands in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Ukraine on Wednesday said it would suspend major agricultural exports for the rest of the year. Russia also said it would maintain domestic grain supplies.
As a recent sign of a global food crisis, Indonesia has said it will restrict sales of palm oil after global prices soared. read more
Western nations believe that Moscow was aiming to overthrow the Kiev government quickly with a lightning strike and that it was forced to adjust after underestimating the Ukrainian opposition. Russia has occupied considerable territory in the south, but has not yet captured major cities in the north or east of Ukraine, with an offensive force paralyzed on a highway north of Kiev.
Vadim Denishenko, adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, said on Wednesday before the talks that he wished to win in cities such as Russia, Mariupol and Kiev.
“So, our task is to endure for the next 7-10 days,” he said.
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Reporting by Reuters Bureau, by Peter Groff and Filippa Flector, editing by Tomas Janowski and Angus Maxwan
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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