Russian Missile Strike Hits Ukrainian Hospital
KYIV, Ukraine — Explosions far behind the front lines rocked Ukraine on Friday, as a Russian missile destroyed part of a hospital complex and apparent Ukrainian attacks targeted cities. Russian-occupied city, in their escalating long-range air war.
The attack on a medical center in the central city of Dnipro left at least two people dead, three others missing and at least 30 injured, Ukrainian officials said. It destroyed a three-story building and damaged several others.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine posted a video on social media about a building gutted, roof and upper walls missing, smoke rising into the sky, calling it “another crime against humanity”.
Ukraine is expected to launch a major counter-offensive soon – some analysts say it may already be in the earliest stages – and both sides have ramped up their attacks from afar ahead of the clash. set. Kiev’s forces have increased tempo and range attacks deep into Russian-held territory, mainly on military depots, convoys and troop concentrations, as well as railway lines used by the Russian military.
On Friday, explosions were reported in the southern Russian city of Berdyansk, about 60 miles from the front, the second this week. Vladimir Rogov, a Russian occupation official in southern Ukraine, said that several loud explosions were heard throughout Berdyansk during the night and that Russian air defenses prevented a Ukrainian attack, a claim not can be confirmed.
Ukraine’s military did not specifically comment on Berdyansk but said its air force “performed five strikes targeting enemy equipment clusters and personnel”. GeoConfirmed, one of the volunteer groups that closely monitor battlefield movements in Ukraine, Post photos on Twitter showed a large fire and said impacts were recorded in Berdyansk, although it was not clear what was affected.
On Friday night, there were two large explosions in another occupied southern city, Mariupol, about 40 miles from Berdyansk, near the Azovstal steel plant, according to Mariupol city government officials who ran hide before the Russians take over. Russian occupation officials said the explosions were caused by a Ukrainian missilenewly supplied by the UK, according to state news agency Tass.
Friday morning’s hospital attack on Dnipro follows one of Russia’s increasingly frequent overnight attacks on cities and infrastructure far from the battlefield, with missiles and drones. The pilot was fired in beams to overwhelm Ukraine’s air defenses. The Ukrainian military said it destroyed 10 of the 17 rockets launched and 23 of the 31 attack drones.
“Only an evil state can resist clinics,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter. “There can be no military purpose in this. It is pure terror.”
The Russian Defense Ministry told state media that it had attacked Ukraine’s ammunition depots.
The city of Dnipro was a hub for Ukrainian soldiers wounded in battle, often the first stop before they were transported to hospitals in other parts of the country. It is not clear if any Ukrainian soldiers are being treated at the facility attacked on Friday.
“It was a really difficult night,” said Serhii Lysak, head of the Dnipro regional government. One of the dead, he said, was a 69-year-old man who was “just passing by” when the hospital was hit.
Since the start of President Vladimir V. Putin’s full-scale invasion 15 months ago, Russia has used its weapons advantage to bombard civilian targets across Ukraine, such as hospitals and schools. and power plants, acts as war crimes. At first, ranged attacks were purely one-sided and largely unchallenged.
But as the Ukrainian military has accumulated experience and a growing range of Western weapons, it has become more adept at intercepting such Russian attacks and more capable of responding to Russian attacks. pay in kind more.
Last summer, the United States began supplying Ukraine HIMARS . rocket artillery The systems have a range of about 50 miles, making an important difference in battle. In December, Ukraine showed that it can regulate Soviet-era surveillance drones long-range weapon to attack inside Russia. And Britain this month began supplying Ukraine with high-precision air-launched missiles Storm Shadow cruise missile with a range of about 150 miles – far enough to reach any corner of Russian-occupied Ukraine.
Afterward an attack on Berdyansk on SundayLocal Russian officials believe that Kiev used the newly acquired Storm Shadow.
Russian forces have turned Berdyansk, a port on the Sea of Azov, into a military stronghold, using it as a base for soldiers and troops. a transit point for suppliesaccording to military analysts.
Closer to the front lines in the Donetsk region, Russian forces broken dam on the Vovcha River on Thursday, causing flooding downstream threatening six villages, home to nearly 1,000 people, Pavlo Kyrylenko, Ukraine’s regional manager, said on Friday. The attack was likely an attempt to impede Ukrainian military movements behind the line, a tactic used by both sides in this war.
The Ukrainian government has repeatedly warned about the risk that Russia will blow up the much larger Kakhovka dam on the Dnipro River, flooding a larger area and lowering the cooling reservoir of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, causing a state of emergency there.
Late on Friday, Ukrainian military intelligence warned that the Russians were planning to create a state of emergency at the power plant they occupied, “within the next few hours” to create a pretext for a ceasefire to prevent a counter-offensive. labour. The Ukrainian government has issued warnings about threats to the plant in the past, but rarely so specifically.
“A strike will be carried out” on the plant, followed by the announcement of the radiation leak, the intelligence department say on Telegram, adding that the Russians will blame Ukraine. Energoatom, the Ukrainian nuclear energy company, repeated the accusations.
The Ukrainians offered no evidence for this claim, making it unclear whether this could be a case of disinformation intended to throw the Russians off balance. Hours later, a Russian occupation official announced that it was the Ukrainians who were planning to create a state of emergency at the plant.
The United States is monitoring the situation closely but has seen no information to support the idea that an incident was planned, a US official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the matters. intelligence issue. The United States has direct access to data from radiation sensors in the region, the official said.
The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency has inspectors working at the Zaporizhzhia plant, and the rotation of some arrivals and departures should have taken place on Friday. The Ukrainian said the Russians broke it. The Russian state energy company currently monitoring the plant told Tass that the Ukrainians had blocked it.
The United Nations agency declined to comment.
Diplomatically, Pope Francis, who asked the Vatican to mediate, refused to support the position of Ukraine and many Western countries that support it, that Russia must return all Ukrainian territory without this country has taken over. Kiev has called it a prerequisite for peace talks, insisting that otherwise, any ceasefire would only strengthen Russia’s interests.
In an interview on Thursday, in Spanish, with Telemundo networkFrancis was twice asked whether Russia should give up the territory. For the first time, he didn’t answer the question directly.
“It’s a political issue,” he said a second time. “Peace will be achieved once they can talk to each other.”
Andrew E. Kramer And Maria Varennikova Contribution reports from Pokrovsk, Ukraine, and Julian E. Barnes from Washington.