Russian airstrikes in Ukraine kill more than 30

Kiev. A wave of Russian bombings in Ukraine left at least 31 dead in several parts of the country on Monday and hit two hospitals, one of them for children, prompting international condemnation ahead of a summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The bombings raise questions about the state of Ukraine’s air defences after previous attacks damaged power infrastructure and military airports.

“Russian terrorists have once again launched a massive missile attack on Ukraine,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

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The affected cities are Kyiv, Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, located in the centre and east of the former Soviet republic, which was invaded by Russia in February 2022, Zelensky said.

The Ukrainian president said that “residential buildings, infrastructure and a children’s hospital were damaged” and authorities indicated that the Russians launched 38 missiles, of which 30 were shot down.

The consequences of the bombings reflect the wear and tear of Ukraine’s anti-aircraft defences, which lack Western systems.

A rescuer rests next to the destroyed building of the Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital following a Russian missile attack in the Ukrainian capital of kyiv, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (ROMAN PILIPEY/AFP)

In kyiv, where two medical centres were hit by shells, including a psychiatric hospital, at least 17 people were killed, according to authorities and rescuers.

“One of the most important children’s hospitals in Europe,” the Okhmatdyt hospital, was damaged, Zelensky said on the social network X.

“Russia cannot claim to be unaware of where its missiles are falling and must take full responsibility,” he added. According to Ukrainian security services, two caregivers died in hospital and seven children were injured.

Another 11 people were killed in the central Dnipropetrovsk region, 10 of them in the town of Kryvyi Rih. Three people were killed in Pokrovsk, further east, near the front line, according to authorities, who also reported 100 wounded.

Russia denied responsibility for the bombings, saying it targeted “military facilities.” Images show the damage was caused by Ukrainian anti-aircraft missiles, it said.

Ukrainian security services, however, said the Okhmatdyt hospital was hit by a Kh-101/X-101 missile.

EU accuses Russia of ‘merciless’ attacks on civilians

Russia is “mercilessly attacking Ukrainian civilians,” the head of EU diplomacy said following the daytime bombings.

Denise Brown, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, “strongly” condemned the attacks and called the deaths of children “unconscionable.”

From Poland, Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, called on the allied Western powers to give a “stronger response” to Moscow. “It is very important that the world does not remain silent and that everyone sees what Russia is doing,” he added.

Together with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, he observed a minute of silence in memory of the victims.

Zelensky travelled to Poland before travelling to the NATO summit in Washington, where the two leaders signed an agreement on mutual security cooperation.

In kyiv, hundreds of people, including rescuers, relatives and police, were mobilized to help victims and remove rubble in search of survivors.

The Russian military regularly bombs the interior of Ukraine, focusing particularly on energy facilities and factories.

The recent attacks “destroyed or damaged” three power substations in the city and affected several industrial sites, according to DTEK, the power operator.

Ukraine has a limited number of air defence systems and ammunition and has asked its Western allies for more support.

NATO summit to seek support for Ukraine

Monday’s bombings come as the Russian army continues to gain ground on the front line and is taking advantage of the difficulties faced by the Ukrainian army to replenish its ranks and acquire more weapons and ammunition from the West.

A NATO summit in Washington on Tuesday will address support for kyiv and the uncertainties that could arise in the event of a Donald Trump victory in the US presidential election in November.

The former Republican president has repeatedly expressed his intention to bring the war to a swift end, which would have a direct impact on Ukrainians who have resisted the Russian invasion for nearly two and a half years.

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