Ukraine claimed on Wednesday that a Russian strike hit a children’s and maternity hospital in the southeastern city of Mariupol – which has already suffered days of shelling.
President Zelensky tweeted footage from the incident — which he described as a “direct strike” — showing destroyed rooms along a corridor in the building.
“People, children are under the wreckage. Atrocity! How much longer will the world be an accomplice ignoring terror?” the Ukrainian president asks.
Mariupol. Direct strike of Russian troops at the maternity hospital. People, children are under the wreckage. Atrocity! How much longer will the world be an accomplice ignoring terror? Close the sky right now! Stop the killings! You have power but you seem to be losing humanity. pic.twitter.com/FoaNdbKH5k
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) March 9, 2022
Zelensky demanded a no-fly zone over the country to stop Russian aircraft from flying – something the US and other NATO countries have ruled out.
“Close the sky right now! Stop the killings! You have power but you seem to be losing humanity,” he urged.
Destruction at Mariupol hospital “colossal”
Mariupol’s city council announced that the hospital had been destroyed. It said it did not know any casualty figures but added: “The destruction is colossal.”
The deputy mayor of Mariupol, Sergei Orlov, spoke to the BBC World Service saying “We don’t understand how it is possible in modern life to bomb a children’s hospital.”
He says the people in Mariupol who managed to escape the hospital are in “total anger” and “cannot believe it is true.”
Mariupol. Russian artillery ruined maternity hospital and children hospital. A lot of killed and wounded women. No information about children and newborn yet. Hey, @UN how are you doing? Please retweet pic.twitter.com/QJSfUMMngW
— Dmytro Gurin, Ukrainian MP (@DmytroGurinMP) March 9, 2022
In response to the reported strike on the children’s and maternity hospital in Mariupol, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “There are few things more depraved than targeting the vulnerable and defenseless.”
He tweeted that the UK is “exploring more support for Ukraine to defend against airstrikes.”
Johnson says the UK government will hold Putin to account “for his terrible crimes.”
Ukraine accuses Russia of keeping Mariupol civilians hostage
Ukraine has accused Russian forces of “holding 400,000 people hostage” in Mariupol, as fresh efforts to evacuate civilians from devastated Ukrainian cities along safe routes agreed with Moscow made little progress.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Wednesday that the city, where conditions are described as “apocalyptic”, was still being shelled by Russian troops despite an agreement to establish a safe evacuation corridor for civilians.
“Almost 3,000 newborn babies lack medicine and food,” Kuleba tweeted. “Russia continues holding hostage over 400,000 people in Mariupol, blocks humanitarian aid and evacuation. Indiscriminate shelling continues.”
The Red Cross itself has described conditions in Mariupol as “apocalyptic”, while Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said the humanitarian situation in the besieged city was “catastrophic” and Ukraine president Volodomyr Zelensky, compared the levels of devastation and suffering there to those caused by the Nazis in the Second World War.