Russia attacks Ukraine with powerful missile offensive that kills more than 20 people and hits children's hospital in Kiev | International

More than 28 months after the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia has again used one of its most deadly tactics: targeting civilians. On Monday at around 10 a.m., a wave of rockets was aimed from the eastern and southern flanks of the border with Russia and hit several points in the country, with particular intensity in the capital, Kiev. According to the latest preliminary assessment, at least nine people have been killed and another 33 wounded in the capital of Ukraine, in one of the worst offensives in memory of the city since the start of the full-scale invasion in February 2022. The death toll across the country now exceeds 20. One of the hardest hit places in Kiev was the Ojmatdit Children's Hospitalwhich had to be evacuated. “It is important that everyone sees what [Rusia] “does,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a post on his social networks, along with a video showing the damage to the children's health center.

Several hours after the offensive began, ambulance sirens and emergency teams in the city center continue to work to reach the impact sites and treat the victims. The smoke columns were still visible around noon in some affected areas of the city, such as Solomianski, near the Pasazhirskii railway station. Anti-aircraft warnings continue to sound due to the launch of new projectiles and unmanned devices towards the center and east of the country. The bombardment is not over yet.

The Russian offensive has also hit the heart of Ukraine on the eve of NATO's meeting in Washington, which will mark the 75th anniversary of its founding and in which Kiev is expected to receive new guarantees for future accession to the Alliancea move that the Kremlin categorically rejects. President Zelensky has described the attack as “terrorist” and estimates the number of rockets that have fallen on the country in the past hours at 40. “Now that the hospital has been damaged by a Russian attack, people are under the rubble and the exact number of victims is still unknown,” the leader said. “Russia cannot claim that it does not know where its rockets are flying and must be held accountable.” fully for all its crimes.

To the fatalities in Kiev we must add, also in a provisional balance, at least a dozen dead in Krivoy Rih, in central Ukraine, and another three in Pokrovsk, in the eastern strip, near the front line. There have also been bombardments in Dnipro, Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.

This is not the first time in recent days that Russia has placed the Ukrainian capital at the center of the target of its waves of missiles and drones, which are usually launched in smaller quantities in the early morning hours or at dawn and are repelled by air defense systems. Last week, the remains left by the interception of a projectile hit the facade of a building in the Obolon district, on the right bank of the Dnieper. On this occasion, despite the work of the defense, Russian projectiles hit and damaged both inside and outside the Oymatdit children's hospital in the Shevchenkivsky district, a few kilometers from the center of Kiev. These facilities are the best in the country in terms of child healthcare.

The images that have emerged from Ojmatdit from the staff who captured the moments after the attack, and from those left outside, with the façade destroyed and an adjacent building all but collapsed, are Dantesque. The images that have arrived during the evacuation of the hospital have managed to portray many wounded and bloodied minors, under the care of the health workers. A line of dozens of volunteers are working alongside emergency teams to clear the most damaged section, in anticipation of people becoming trapped.

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According to Ukrainian Interior Minister Igor Klimenko, some of the nine deaths from the Russian offensive on the capital have been recorded in this children's hospital so far. “This is one of the worst attacks,” said the city's mayor, Vitali Klitschko. “You see, it's a children's hospital.” Klitschko, who has moved to Oymatdit, reported that patients from the center have been transferred to other public facilities.

The United Nations Humanitarian Office (OCHA) has issued a message of condemnation against the Russian attack“Hospitals enjoy special protection under international humanitarian law. Civilians must be protected,” Ukraine coordinator Denise Brown said in the statement.

Before the bombardment early Monday morning, Moscow had attacked the Yitomir and Cherkasy provinces in the center of the country without causing any deaths or damage. The Russian offensive is killing a population exhausted after more than two years of war, severely affected by power outages caused by the systematic bombing of power plants –Ukraine has lost half the energy it generated a few months ago, leading to daily power outages across the country-, and with problems both in the supply of ammunition and in the mobilization of men for battle.

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