Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday described a Russian air strike on a children’s hospital in the southeastern city of Mariupol as a “war crime” after it prompted international condemnation.
The air strike on the hospital, which officials said held both maternity and paediatric units, blew out windows, ripped down partition walls and set fire to cars parked outside, videos posted by officials showed.
“We have not done and would never do anything like this war crime in any of the cities of the Donetsk or Lugansk regions, or of any region… because we are people. But are you?” Zelensky asked, switching to Russian to make his point.
“What kind of a country is Russia, that it is afraid of hospitals and maternity wards and destroys them?” he asked.
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova did not deny the attack in comments at a Moscow briefing.
She said Ukrainian “nationalist battalions” were using the hospital to set up firing positions after moving out staff and patients.
Zelensky confirmed a figure of 17 wounded, given earlier by a regional official, saying that those in the hospital had “started hiding in time from the air raid signal”.
He said that a search of the rubble was ongoing, however.
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