Ukrainian officials say children's hospital destroyed by Russian bombing
Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday that a children's hospital and maternity ward in the city of Mariupol have been destroyed by Russian airstrikes.
"The Russian occupying forces have dropped several bombs on the children's hospital," the Mariupol City Council said in a statement. "The destruction is colossal."
According to the Associated Press, at least 17 people were injured.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted a video that he said showed the hospital in the aftermath of a "direct strike" by Russian troops.
"People, children are under the wreckage," he wrote. "Atrocity! How much longer will the world be an accomplice ignoring terror?"
Mariupol. Direct strike of Russian troops at the maternity hospital. People, children are under the wreckage. Atrocity! How much longer will the world be an accomplice ignoring terror? Close the sky right now! Stop the killings! You have power but you seem to be losing humanity. pic.twitter.com/FoaNdbKH5k
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) March 9, 2022
Zelensky again called on NATO to create a no-fly zone over Ukraine — something the United States and its European allies said they would not do.
"Close the sky right now! Stop the killings!" Zelensky tweeted. "You have power but you seem to be losing humanity."
Another video posted to Twitter purportedly showed a crater left by the hospital strike.
Footage of the huge crater from the Mariupol hospital attack pic.twitter.com/xWXkwvm0qZ
— Joe (@joedyke) March 9, 2022
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the attack "depraved," and said the United Kingdom is "exploring more support for Ukraine to defend against airstrikes."
In Washington, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that while he understood Zelensky's appeal, a no-fly zone "would almost certainly lead to direct conflict” with Russia.
“If I were in President Zelensky’s position, I’m sure I would be asking for everything possible," Blinken said.
The reported assault on the hospital comes on the heels of a warning from U.S. intelligence officials that Russian President Vladimir Putin is "angry" and may further escalate attacks on civilians as Russia's invasion of Ukraine enters its 14th day.
The war has left at least 474 civilians dead, according to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. But the actual death toll, the agency warned, is likely "considerably higher."
The U.N. estimates that more than 2 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia's invasion began. Earlier this week, Ukraine also accused Russian forces of attacking evacuation routes and killing those trying to escape.
Russia has denied targeting civilians in its assault on Ukraine.