Ukraine: Maternity hospital bombed in Mariupol

Ukraine accused Russia of bombing a hospital in Mariupol as the Red Cross described conditions inside the city as apocalyptic. Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy accused Moscow on Wednesday of carrying out an air strike on the hospital in the southern port city. He said children were among the people “under the wreckage.”

Kyiv said the childrens’ hospital in the besieged port was hit during a supposed ceasefire meant to allow some of the hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped in the city to escape.

Russia denies targeting civilians. The Kremlin had said it would hold fire to let civilians flee Mariupol and other besieged cities on Wednesday, but the city council said the hospital was hit more than once. The report has yet to be verified.

It said in an online post: “The Russian occupying forces have dropped several bombs on the children’s hospital. The destruction is colossal.”

Regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said 17 people were wounded in the attack, including women in labor.

Ukraine has accused Russia of bombing a hospital (Image: Sky News)

Kharkiv

A pedestrian walks amid debris in a street following a shelling in Kharkiv (Image: Getty)

Mr Johnson tweeted: “There are few things more depraved than targeting the vulnerable and defenceless. The UK is exploring more support for Ukraine to defend against airstrikes and we will hold Putin to account for his terrible crimes.”

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, speaking at a press conference in the US, said: “The attack on the hospital is absolutely abhorrent, reckless and appalling.”

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

Mr Kuleba tweeted: “Russia continues holding hostage over 400,000 people in Mariupol, blocks humanitarian aid and evacuation. Indiscriminate shelling continues. Almost 3,000 newborn babies lack medicine and food.”

Officials in other cities report that some civilians had left on Wednesday through safe corridors, including out of Sumy in eastern Ukraine and Enerhodar in the south.

However, local authorities said in an online post that Russian forces were preventing a convoy of 50 buses from evacuating civilians from the town of Bucha outside Kyiv, adding that talks continued to allow the convoy to leave.

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People flee the city of Irpin, west of Kyiv, on March 7

People flee the city of Irpin, west of Kyiv, on March 7 (Image: Getty)

People help an elderly woman in a wheelchair as they flee the city of Irpin

People help an elderly woman in a wheelchair as they flee the city of Irpin (Image: Getty)

Both sides have accused each other of violating ceasefires that would allow the evacuation of Mariupol, which Russian forces have kept under siege for more than a week.

The Red Cross called conditions inside the city “apocalyptic” with residents sheltering underground from relentless bombardment, with no access to food, water, power or heat.

More than two million people have fled Ukraine since President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion nearly two weeks ago.

Moscow calls its action a special military operation to disarm its neighbor and dislodge leaders it calls “neo-Nazis.”

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Russia vs Ukraine in numbers (Image: Express)

The UN’s human rights office said on Wednesday it had verified 1,424 civilian casualties since the Ukraine conflict began two weeks ago with 516 killed and 908 injured. It warned the real figures were “considerably higher”.

The civilian toll rose from the 1,335 casualties it reported on Tuesday with 474 civilians killed and 861 injured since Russia’s invasion began on February 24.

It said most civilian casualties were caused by explosive weapons including shelling and missile and air strikes.

The office said updated casualty figures from the towns of Volnovakha, Mariupol and Izium were still being corroborated amid allegations of hundreds of civilian casualties.

The burnt out remains of a building destroyed by Russian army shelling in the second largest Ukrainian city of Kharkiv

The burnt out remains of a building destroyed by Russian army shelling in Kharkiv (Image: Getty)

Vadym Denysenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, wrote on Facebook on Wednesday that Russia is desperate for some kind of victory in cities such as Mariupol and Kyiv before it negotiates

He said: “Therefore, our task is to withstand for the next 7-10 days.”

Regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyy said a humanitarian corridor out of the besieged city of Sumy would continue to function on Wednesday.

He added that about 5,000 people rode buses out of the northeastern city on Tuesday after Moscow and Kyiv agreed on the corridor and about 1,000 cars were also able to leave, moving towards the city of Poltava.

The Sumy-Poltava corridor was the only one that was working on Tuesday. Although Russia had said it would also allow civilians to leave capital Kyiv and the cities of Kharkiv, Mariupol and Chernihiv, the sides accused each other of failing to implement those deals.

The Russian news agency Interfax reported Russia’s Defense Ministry as saying on Wednesday that nearly 180,000 people had been evacuated from Ukraine to Russia since the start of the conflict.

The ministry added that the operation to open up humanitarian corridors to remove Ukrainian civilians and foreigners from combat zones “did not bring the desired results, through Kyiv’s fault” and the situation faced by civilians in the city of Mariupol had reached a “catastrophic scale” .

A senior US defense official said on Wednesday that Washington has seen indications Russia’s military is bombing Ukraine using so-called “dumb” bombs that are not precision-guided and would have limited ability to hit targets precisely.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “We do have indications that the Russians are in fact dropping some dumb munitions.”

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