Ukrainian children's hospital hit, 31 people killed in daytime Russian missile attack

Emergency forces and civilians conduct search-and-rescue operations among the rubble of ‘Okhmatdyt’ Children’s Hospital in Kyiv, Ukraine, on July 8, 2024.

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A barrage of Russian missiles across Ukraine killed at least 31 people, injured 125 others and seriously damaged a key children’s hospital in a rare large-scale daytime attack, Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs said.

Russian forces launched more than 40 aerial missiles at the cities of Kyiv, Dnipro, Sloviansk, Kramatorsk and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s native Kryvi Rih, according to the Kyiv city military administration.

At least 20 people died in Kyiv and 61 were injured, the Ministry of Internal Affairs said, in a Google-translated statement. The Ukrainian capital’s Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital undertook “considerable destruction,” with patients being transferred to other medical facilities in Kyiv. It was not immediately clear whether the site was directly hit or struck by missile debris.

A doctor and another adult died in the medical facility, Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said on Telegram, prior to the ministry update. He added at the time that 16 people were injured in the hospital, seven of whom were children.

“This is horror and genocide!” Klitschko said.

Several other regions declared fatalities, with people killed in Kryvy Rih — where Oleksandr Vilkul, head of the local military administration, declared a day of mourning — as well as in Dnipro and Pokrovsk, according to regional heads.

The casualty figures could not be verified by CNBC and are subject to change as rescue operations continue. Vast plumes of smoke, rains of debris and razed sites can be seen in pictures shared by Ukrainian officials, which CNBC was unable to authenticate.

“Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital in Kyiv. One of the most important CHILDREN’S hospitals not only in Ukraine, but also in Europe. Okhmatdyt has been saving and restoring the health of thousands of children,” Zelenskyy said of the offensive on X. “Russia cannot claim ignorance of where its missiles are flying and must be held fully accountable for all its crimes. Against people, against children, against humanity in general.”

Russia’s Ministry of Defense said accusations of deliberate missile strikes against civilian sites were “absolutely untrue.” The ministry said its forces had answered Kyiv’s hostilities with a mass attack on Ukrainian military facilities and air bases with long-range precision weapons.

“The strike’s objectives were achieved. The designated facilities were hit,”  the defense ministry said in a Google-translated statement.

CNBC has reached out to Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.

NATO summit ahead

The widespread attack comes on the eve of a key three-day NATO summit in Washington during which allies are expected to agree on a further package of military support for Ukraine. Zelenskyy on Monday arrived in Warsaw for a meeting with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who reiterated his country’s commitment to Kyiv.

The Polish and Ukrainian leaders signed a security cooperation agreement that “includes a provision for shooting down Russian missiles and drones in Ukraine’s airspace that are fired in the direction of Poland,” Zelenskyy said.

“You can always count on us in this fight,” Tusk said on social media, according to a Google translation.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, is on his first visit to the Kremlin since the February 2022 start of Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. He will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in an effort to strengthen ties as Russia remains secluded or outright sanctioned by international peers.

Separately, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose country assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union on July 1, has embarked on a so-called “peace mission” to broker a cease-fire in the Ukrainian conflict. He has so far visited Ukraine and Russia for talks with their respective leaders, earning the ire of EU officials for his outreach to Putin.

Earlier on Monday, Orban met with Russia’s close ally, Chinese President Xi Jinping, in Beijing.

“China is a key power in creating the conditions for #peace in the #RussiaUkraineWar. This is why I came to meet with President Xi in Beijing, just two months after his official visit to Budapest,” Orban said on social media.

“President Xi made it clear to me today that #China will continue its efforts aimed at creating the conditions for #peace,” he added.

In February 2023, China released a peace plan for the war in Ukraine, which — like Zelenskyy’s own framework and Putin’s recent pre-requisites to begin truce negotiations — has yet to gain traction.

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