Kyiv children hospital hit as Russia fires barrage of missiles on Ukraine

The attack, which killed at least 29, is considered the heaviest Russian bombardment of Kyiv in almost four months.

Rescuers work at Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital in Kyiv that was damaged during Russian missile strikes on Monday [Gleb Garanich/Reuters]

At least 29 people have been killed after Russia launched a barrage of missiles targeting what it called defence sites across Ukraine, with one missile striking a children’s hospital in the capital, Kyiv, Ukrainian officials said.

More than 60 people have been injured in the latest attacks that targeted at least two medical facilities, electrical substations and residential buildings.

Hundreds of people rushed to clear debris at the children’s hospital, where windows had been smashed and panels ripped off. Parents holding babies walked in the street outside, dazed and sobbing after the rare daylight aerial attack.

“It was scary. I couldn’t breathe, I was trying to cover [my baby]. I was trying to cover him with this cloth so that he could breathe,” Svitlana Kravchenko, 33, told the Reuters news agency.

City authorities said 10 people were killed and at least 35 were wounded in the attack on Kyiv. In Kryvyi Rih, 11 people were reportedly killed and 40 others were injured in what Mayor Oleksandr Vilkul called a “massive missile attack”.

There was no immediate word on casualties at Okhmatdyt children’s hospital in Kyiv, Ukraine’s biggest, while four people were killed after another medical facility in Kyiv was hit.

The Kyiv city administration reported falling debris, presumably from intercepted missiles, in a handful of Kyiv areas which started fires. Thick plumes of smoke rose from several Kyiv neighbourhoods.

Three people were killed in the eastern town of Pokrovsk, where missiles hit an industrial facility, Donetsk’s regional governor said.

One person was killed in Dnipro city of Dnipropetrovsk, officials said.

DTEK, Ukraine’s largest private power producer, said three substations and electricity networks had been damaged in the capital. The country’s power grid has already sustained damage from targeted Russian air strikes that began in March.

Attack before NATO summit

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said more than 40 missiles of different types hit apartment buildings and public infrastructure in five cities – Kyiv, Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, Sloviansk, and Kramatorsk.

“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.

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

The attacks come as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban paid an unexpected visit to Beijing on Monday and met Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss a potential Ukraine peace deal.

A three-day NATO summit begins on Tuesday in Washington, DC to look at ways to reassure Ukraine of the alliance’s unwavering support.

Russia unleashes advanced weapons

The daylight attacks saw Russian forces use Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, one of their most advanced weapons, the Ukrainian Air Force said on Monday. The Kinzhal flies at 10 times the speed of sound, making it hard to intercept. City buildings shook from the blasts.

Russian forces used cruise, ballistic, aerial ballistic and guided missiles in a combined attack on Ukrainian cities, the Ukrainian Air Force said, adding that it downed 30 out of 38 missiles.

Defence Minister Rustem Umerov said Ukraine still lacked enough air defences and urged allies to supply more systems promptly to help protect its cities and infrastructure from regular Russian aerial attacks.

Oleksandr Kraiev, the director of the North America programme at Ukrainian Prism, said Russian rockets managed to penetrate the capital’s sky because Moscow used “several advanced techniques of getting our anti-air system disturbed by [attacking] smaller targets”.

“As we see, not for the first time, but in dozens of attempts, Russia once again hit the medical facilities … Additionally, they hit several residential buildings and nearly 20 apartments were destroyed in Kyiv alone,” he told Al Jazeera.

Zelenskyy meets Polish PM

Meanwhile, Zelenskyy met Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Warsaw on Monday, his office said via Telegram.

No one can decide on future peace in Ukraine without Kyiv’s input, Tusk said after signing a security agreement with Zelenskyy.

The Ukrainian president said Kyiv would seek a United Nations Security Country meeting to discuss the latest attacks.

According to Mayor Vitali Klitschko, the attack on Kyiv was one of the heaviest since the start of Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

In June, at least 12 people, including four children, lost their lives due to Russian assaults across different cities in Ukraine.

Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilians. The Ministry of Defence said its forces hit defence industry sites and aviation bases, claiming that the damage in Kyiv was caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies