July 16, 2024

A major Russian missile attack across Ukraine has killed at least 20 people and injured more than 50, officials say, with one missile striking a large children’s hospital in the capital, Kyiv, where emergency crews searched rubble for casualties.

The Russian barrage targeted five Ukrainian cities with more than 40 missiles of different types, hitting apartment buildings and public infrastructure, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a social media post.

Strikes in Kryvyi Rih, in central Ukraine, killed 10 people and injured 37, in what the head of city administration, Oleksandr Vilkul, said was a massive missile attack.

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At the Okhmatdyt children’s hospital in Kyiv, rescuers were searching for people under the rubble of a partially collapsed wing of the facility, Zelenskyy said, adding that the number of casualties was not yet known.

“It is very important that the world should not be silent about it now and that everyone should see what Russia is and what it is doing,” he said, on social media.

Vsevolod Dorofieiev, the senior instructor of a volunteer medical unit, said some people had died but he did not say how many or whether they were children or adults.

The attack comes on the eve of a three-day NATO summit in Washington, which will look at how to reassure Ukraine of the alliance’s unwavering support and offer Ukrainians hope that their country can come through Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II.

At the children’s hospital, a two-storey building was partly destroyed. On the hospital’s main 10-storey building, windows and doors were blown out and walls were blackened.

Blood spattered the floor in one room.

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Medical personnel and local people helped shift the rubble as they searched for children and medical workers who could be trapped underneath. Volunteers formed a line, passing stones and debris to each other.

Smoke still rose from the building, and volunteers and emergency crews worked in protective masks.

The attack forced the hospital to shut down and evacuate. Some mothers carried their children away on their backs. Others waited in the courtyard with their children as calls to doctors’ phones rang unanswered.

Elsewhere in Kyiv, the heaviest Russian bombardment of the capital in almost four months killed seven people and injured 25, officials said.

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The daylight attacks included Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, one of the most advanced Russian weapons, the Ukrainian air force said. The Kinzhal flies at 10 times the speed of sound, making it hard to intercept.

City buildings shook from the blasts. An entire section of a residential multi-storey building in one district of Kyiv was destroyed, officials said. Three electricity substations were damaged or completely destroyed in two districts of Kyiv, energy company DTEK said.

The head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Andrii Yermak, said the attack occurred at a time when many people were in the city’s streets.

Kyiv Mayor Vitalii Klitschko said official assessments of the attack’s consequences were still being carried out.

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