A Russian missile strike on a Ukrainian hospital has killed at least two people and injured dozens in an attack that Kyiv described as Moscow’s latest crime against humanity.
The strike on a hospital and a veterinary clinic in the eastern city of Dnipro came hours after Ukraine’s military said it had shot down 33 of 48 missiles and drones launched by Russia overnight from Thursday into Friday.
“Another Russian missile attack, another crime against humanity…Only an evil state can fight against clinics. There can be no military purpose in this. It is pure Russian terror,” Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy wrote on social media after the attack on Dnipro.
“Russia has chosen the path of evil of its own will, and it will not abandon this path by itself. We must defeat terror and we will do it. Ukraine and the entire free world together.”
Dnipro regional governor Serhiy Lysak said one man was killed while walking past the clinics and another man’s body was found in the rubble of the veterinary building. Three other people were missing, he added, noting that two boys aged three and six were among the wounded.
“I was at home with my child. There was no air-raid siren…Lots of people were injured, the windows shattered. The explosion was really strong - we were on the couch and we were thrown right up to the ceiling,” an eyewitness named Olha told Ukrainian media.
Dmytro, another local resident, said: “I ran past the psychiatric clinic and it was clear that the building had been hit and that the main strike had landed on the veterinary clinic, where the vets were carrying out burnt animals.”
A large industrial city in eastern Ukraine, Dnipro has come under heavy shelling and missile attack from Russia’s invasion force during 15 months of full-scale war that have killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.
“The teams are providing psychological first aid. Also, medicines were donated to the hospital due to the massive influx of patients,” said Olexandr Scholokov, medical team leader for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).
“Attacks on medical facilities and staff are unacceptable and must stop. All precautions must be taken to spare health facilities and civilians from attack,” he added.
The foreign ministry in Paris said: “France condemns in the strongest terms the Russian missile and drone strikes that once again targeted Kyiv as well as the Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk regions.
“These strikes once again deliberately targeted civilian targets, including a hospital in Dnipro, in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.
“These unacceptable acts constitute war crimes and cannot go unpunished,” it added. “France will continue to help Ukraine to resist this illegal aggression…for as long as necessary.”
Russia did not immediately comment about the strike on Dnipro, but its defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said its overnight attacks had been successful. “Last night, the Russian armed forces delivered a multiple strike by airborne long-range, high-precision weapons against the Ukrainian army’s ammunition storage sites. The goal of the strike was achieved. All the designated targets were hit,” he said.
Russian officials said explosive drones hit the border region of Belgorod overnight, injuring one person and damaging several buildings, and the southern town of Krasnodar, near the Crimean peninsula that Moscow illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
Meanwhile, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov held talks with China’s envoy for Eurasian affairs Li Hui on Friday, telling him that Moscow was committed “to a political-diplomatic resolution of the conflict, noting the serious obstacles to the resumption of peace talks that are created by the Ukrainian side and its western sponsors”.