Ukraine war: Girl among three killed in bombing of children’s hospital in Mariupol

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A woman walks outside a maternity hospital that was damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9, 2022.

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AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka

Ukraine’s president has accused Russia of carrying out a “war crime” after Moscow’s attack on a children’s hospital in the besieged port of Mariupol.

Three people died in the blast, including a girl, Mariupol City Council said on Thursday.

Washington has publicly warned that Russia might launch a chemical or biological attack in Ukraine, after Moscow accused Kyiv of having chemical weapons laboratories, without giving any evidence.

Russia continued to bomb and shell Ukrainian cities on Wednesday night. Tens of thousands of civilians left besieged areas under ceasefire agreements during the day, fewer than hoped as several evacuation efforts again failed.

Follow our live updates below for the latest on the Ukraine war.

06:52

Thursday’s key points:

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of war crimes and genocide after Russia attacked a children’s hospital in Mariupol, burying patients in rubble despite a ceasefire deal.The local authority said on Thursday that three people including a girl were killed in the attack. On Wednesday it was reported that 17 people were hurt.Russian aircraft bombed Zhytomyr, a large city west of Kyiv, on Wednesday evening. The mayor said bombs fell on two hospitals, one of them a children’s hospital. Artillery fire also continued pounding the suburbs of Kyiv and Kharkiv.The White House says Moscow’s accusations that Ukraine has chemical weapons labs could be part of an attempt by Russia to lay the groundwork for using weapons of mass destruction against Ukraine.Some 35,000 civilians were evacuated in humanitarian corridors on Wednesday from the besieged cities of Sumy and Enerhodar as well as the Kyiv region, President Zelenskyy said.The Pentagon has rejected providing MiG fighter jets to Ukraine, calling the idea “high risk” and ineffective.The Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers are due to meet in Turkey on Thursday, their first meeting since the invasion.Thursday marks two weeks since Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine. Thousands have been killed as towns and cities have been pounded, two million have fled abroad, while Russia has been hit by Western sanctions and a business exodus.

08:54

‘3 dead including a girl’ killed in Mariupol hospital strike — city hall

Three people, including a child, were killed in the Russian bombing of a pediatric hospital in Mariupol in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, the local authority said on Thursday.”Three people perished, including a girl,” the municipality said on Telegram. The previous assessment published the day before by the authorities reported 17 people injured.08:24

Lavrov and Kuleba to meet in Turkey

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says that a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers in Turkey on Thursday aims pave the way for a meeting between the leaders of the two countries.

Russia’s Sergey Lavrov and Dmytro Kuleba of Ukraine are scheduled to hold talks on the sidelines of a diplomacy forum near the Turkish Mediterranean city of Antalya. It would be the first high-level meeting between Moscow and Kyiv since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Cavusoglu said he would also participate in the meeting.

“Our main goal is to bring the three leaders together,” Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper quoted Cavusoglu as saying, in reference to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

NATO-member Turkey, which has cultivated close ties with both Russia and Ukraine, is trying to balance relations with both nations. It has positioned itself as a neutral party, seeking to facilitate negotiations between the warring sides.

(AP)

07:47

Russian forces stalled by Ukrainian resistance — UK intelligence 

The latest intelligence update published by the British defence ministry says the large Russian convoy northwest of Kyiv has “made little progress in over a week and is suffering continued losses” inflicted by Ukrainian forces.It also reports a “notable decrease in overall Russian air activity over Ukraine”, which it attributes to the “unexpected effectiveness and endurance” of Ukraine’s air defence forces.It forecasts that as casualties mount, Putin will have to draw from wider military sources.

07:40

‘Two hospitals hit’ in Russian strikes in Zhytomyr — mayor

Russian aircraft bombed Zhytomyr, a city of 260,000 west of Kyiv, hitting two hospitals, including a children’s hospital, Mayor Serhii Sukhomlyn said on Facebook. He said there were no injuries.The World Health Organization said Wednesday it has confirmed 18 attacks on health facilities and ambulances in Ukraine in which 10 people were killed. It was not clear if its numbers included the assault on the maternity hospital in Mariupol.After darkness fell on Wednesday, Russian artillery again began shelling Kyiv suburbs.(AP)07:30

Zelenskyy condemns Russian ‘war crime’ over Mariupol hospital attack

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on the West to impose even tougher sanctions on Russia after the airstrike on the maternity hospital in Mariupol, which he described as a “war crime”.

“A genocide of Ukrainians is taking place,” Zelenskyy said Wednesday in his daily late evening video address to the nation. Wearing his now traditional wartime army green, he said the West should strengthen the sanctions so Russia “no longer has any possibility to continue this genocide.”

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

He said 17 people were injured in the attack, including pregnant women. The city council said the hospital suffered “colossal” damage.

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

Mariupol has been blockaded by Russian troops for nine days. City officials said Wednesday that about 1,200 residents have been killed.

Zelenskyy again called on Western leaders to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, something NATO members have refused to do for fear of provoking a wider war with Russia. Short of that, Zelenskyy called for the delivery of more fighter jets to Ukraine, a proposal the Pentagon rejected on Wednesday.

Zelenskyy said about 35,000 civilians have used humanitarian corridors to flee to western Ukraine to escape the fighting.

(AP, AFP, Reuters)

Read AP’s account of the attack here:

Airstrike hits Ukraine maternity hospital, 17 reported hurt

euronewsPolice and soldiers rushed to the scene to evacuate victims, carrying out a heavily pregnant and bleeding woman on a stretcher.

07:13

US warns Russia could launch chemical or biological attack in Ukraine

The US government publicly warned that Russia might launch a chemical or biological attack in Ukraine, after Russia, without evidence, accused Ukraine of developing non-conventional weapons.

In a series of tweets, White House press secretary Jen Psaki called Russia’s claim “preposterous” and said it could be part of an attempt by Russia to lay the groundwork for using such weapons of mass destruction against Ukraine itself.

“This is all an obvious ploy by Russia to try to try to justify its further premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified attack on Ukraine,” said Psaki.

“Now that Russia has made these false claims, and China has seemingly endorsed this propaganda, we should all be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, or to create a false flag operation using them.”

The Russian embassy in London has tweeted accusations, without giving evidence, that Ukrainian laboratories funded by the US have been developing biological weapons and that Ukrainian nationalists have been planning a chemical attack.

Russia has used chemical weapons before in carrying out assassination attempts against Putin enemies like Alexey Navalny and former spy Sergei Skripal. It also supports the Assad government in Syria which has used chemical weapons against its people in a decade-long civil war.

(with AP)

06:10Good morning. This is Alasdair Sandford beginning Thursday’s latest developments on the war in Ukraine following the Russian invasion.

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