San Francisco Chronicle

Hospital rubble searched as Kyiv mourns

- By Samya Kullab and Illia Novikov

KYIV, Ukraine — Rescuers searched the rubble of Ukraine’s biggest children’s hospital on Tuesday for more dead and wounded, a day after authoritie­s say a Russian missile leveled a wing of the Kyiv facility during a massive daytime barrage that killed at least 42 people throughout the country.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on the social platform X that 64 people were hospitaliz­ed in the capital, in addition to 28 in Kryvyi Rih and six in Dnipro — both cities in central Ukraine.

The strike on the Okhmatdyt children’s hospital, which interrupte­d open-heart surgery and forced young cancer patients to take their treatments outdoors, drew internatio­nal condemnati­on.

Danielle Bell, the head of a United Nations team tracking human rights violations in Ukraine, said at least two people were killed at the hospital and about 50 were injured, including seven children.

U.N. Security Council members condemned Moscow over the hospital strike during an emergency meeting Tuesday chaired by the Russian ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia.

Russia denied responsibi­lity, insisting it doesn’t attack civilian targets in Ukraine despite abundant evidence to the contrary, including AP reporting. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov pointed to a Russian Defense Ministry statement that blamed the hospital strike on a Ukrainian air defense missile.

Nebenzia repeated that position during the Security Council meeting, saying: “If this had been a Russian strike, there would have been nothing left of the building,”

Bell dismissed that argument, saying video footage and findings on site indicated the hospital “took a direct hit, rather than receiving damage due to an intercepte­d weapons system.”

The hospital likely was struck by a Russian Kh-101 cruise missile, Bell said. Ukrainian officials said the same.

Investigat­ors with the Internatio­nal Criminal Court in The Hague visited the hospital Tuesday to collect evidence for possible war crimes charges, the court said. Hospitals and other civilian sites are protected under internatio­nal humanitari­an law.

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