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Ukraine says Russia bombed children’s hospital in besieged Mariupol

Ukraine accused Russia on Wednesday (March 9) of bombing a children’s hospital in the besieged port of Mariupol during a supposed ceasefire to enable some of the hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped in the city to escape.

Russia had said it would hold fire to let civilians flee Mariupol and other besieged cities on Wednesday. But the city council said the hospital had been hit several times.

President Volodymr Zelenskiy called it an “atrocity”.

“Direct strike of Russian troops at the maternity hospital. People, children are under the wreckage,” he said on Twitter.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, asked by Reuters for comment on the reported bombing, said: “Russian forces do not fire on civilian targets.”

Video footage shot by Ukraine military of what appeared to be the badly damaged building of a children’s and maternity hospital showed wreckage of a three-storey building with holes instead of windows and broken facades. Piles of rubble and burnt out cars were seen smouldering outside and wounded people were carried from the scene of destruction.

Video posted on Zelenskiy’s Instagram account showed the hospital interior piled with debris from broken windows, walls and equipment.

The Donetsk region’s governor said 17 people were wounded, including women in labour. The reports could not immediately be verified.

Russia has denied targeting civilians in what it calls a “special operation” in Ukraine.

Both sides have accused each other of violating ceasefires that would allow civilians to evacuate Mariupol, which Russian forces have kept under siege for more than a week.

(Production: Eleanor Whalley, Avivit Delgoshen)

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