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Three killed, including child, in Russian attack on children's hospital – Mariupol council.

Three people were killed, including a child, in Russia’s attack on a hospital, the city council of the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol has said.

Ukrainian president Volodomyr Zelenskiy accused Russia of carrying out genocide after Ukrainian officials said Russian aircraft bombed a children’s hospital on Wednesday, burying patients in rubble, despite a ceasefire deal for people to flee Mariupol.

Footage from the city on the Azov Sea, which has been cut off without essential supplies for about a week, showed a maternity home and children’s hospital in ruins and pregnant women being carried out on stretchers.

Russia said the reports were “fake news”, saying the building was a former maternity hospital that had long been taken over by troops.

The World Health Organisation said it has confirmed 18 attacks on medical facilities since the Russian invasion began.

The war entered its third week on Thursday with none of Russia’s key objectives reached despite thousands of people killed, more than two million made refugees, and thousands forced to cower in besieged cities under relentless bombardment.

Ukrainian forces including citizen-soldiers were holding out in Kyiv and other frontlines, while Russian troops, tanks and artillery made slow progress from the north, south and east.

Moscow’s stated objectives of crushing the Ukrainian military and ousting the pro-West elected government of president Volodymyr Zelenskiy remained out of reach, with Mr Zelenskiy unshaken and lethal Western military aid pouring across the Polish and Romanian borders.

Western-led sanctions designed to cut the Russian economy and government from international financial markets were beginning to bite, with the Russian share market and rouble plunging and ordinary Russians rushing to hoard cash.

The US House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to rush $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine, sending the legislation to the Senate. It also voted to impose a ban on imports of Russian oil and other energy products.

Foreign ministers from Russia and Ukraine were to meet in Turkey on Thursday in the first high-level talks between the two countries since Moscow invaded its neighbour, with Ankara hoping they could mark a turning point in the raging conflict.

Ukraine is seeking a ceasefire, liberation of its territories and to resolve all humanitarian issues, while Moscow demands that Kyiv take a neutral position and drop aspirations of joining the Nato alliance.

“I will say frankly that my expectations of the talks are low,” Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a video statement on Wednesday.

Ukraine said it would open seven “humanitarian corridors” on Thursday for civilians to leave cities besieged by Russian forces, including Mariupol, deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said. Evacuees have already started leaving the northeastern city of Sumy under a local ceasefire, the regional governor said.

‘Innocent civilians’

The White House condemned the hospital bombing in Mariupol as a “barbaric use of military force to go after innocent civilians”.

Russia had earlier pledged to halt firing so at least some trapped civilians could escape the port city, where hundreds of thousands have been sheltering without water or power for more than a week. Both sides blamed the other for the failure of the evacuation.

“What kind of country is this, the Russian Federation, which is afraid of hospitals, is afraid of maternity hospitals, and destroys them?” Mr Zelenskiy said in a televised address late on Wednesday.

Mr Zelenskiy repeated his call for the West to tighten sanctions on Russia “so that they sit down at the negotiating table and end this brutal war”. The bombing of the children’s hospital, he said, was “proof that a genocide of Ukrainians is taking place”.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Russian forces do not fire on civilian targets.”

The United Nations called for “an immediate halt to attacks on healthcare, hospitals, healthcare workers, ambulances – none of these should ever, ever be a target”, said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.


Among more than 2 million total refugees from Ukraine, the United Nations Children’s Fund said on Wednesday that more than a million children have fled the country since the invasion started on February 24th. At least 37 had been killed and 50 injured, it said.

About 35,000 Ukrainians were evacuated through humanitarian corridors from three cities on Wednesday, Mr Zelenskiy said, adding that authorities planned to open another six escape routes on Thursday. He said the 35,000 civilians had left from the cities of Sumy and Energodar as well as towns in the Kyiv region.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said houses had been destroyed all across Ukraine. “Hundreds of thousands of people have no food, no water, no heat, no electricity and no medical care,” it said.

Russia has been hit by Western sanctions and the withdrawals of foreign firms, the latest including Nestle, cigarette-maker Philip Morris and Sony. Rio Tinto on Thursday became the first major mining company to announce it was cutting all ties with Russian businesses.

The World Bank’s chief economist said Moscow was edging close to defaulting on its debt.

EU leaders will meet on Thursday for an informal summit in Versailles near Paris, which is expected to be dominated by discussions on the invasion of Ukraine, and its implications for the EU.

The leaders are likely to discuss the EU’s response to the refugee crisis, how to rapidly eliminate Europe’s dependence on Russian gas imports, as well as the security threats posed by the invasion. – Additional reporting: Reuters, PA

Який дизайн буде оточувати нас у діджиталі цього року .
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