Zelensky Accuses Russia of Genocide after Airstrike on Children’s Hospital

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

KYIV/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of genocide after a Russian airstrike hit a children’s hospital in Ukraine’s besieged southern city of Mariupol.

Wednesday’s bombardment targeting a maternity ward and a children’s ward saw “colossal destruction,” injuring women in labor and leaving children in the wreckage, the city council said.

At least 17 people were reportedly wounded in the latest grim incident of the 14-day invasion, the biggest assault on a European state since 1945.

“What kind of country is this, the Russian Federation, which is afraid of hospitals, is afraid of maternity hospitals, and destroys them?” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a televised address late on Wednesday.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry had posted video footage of what it claimed was the hospital showing holes where windows should have been in a three-story building. Vast piles of smoldering rubble littered the scene.

Zelensky repeated his call for the West to tighten sanctions on Russia “so that they sit down at the negotiating table and end this brutal war.” The bombing of the children’s hospital, he stressed, was “proof that a genocide of Ukrainians is taking place.”


Moscow denied wrongdoing. “Russian forces do not fire on civilian targets,” stressed Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in a reaction.

The Kremlin said the invasion was “a special military operation” to disarm its neighbor and dislodge leaders it views as “neo-Nazis.”

However, Russia’s assault on Ukraine included multiple attacks against Ukrainian hospitals, ambulances, and health workers, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed Wednesday. In the two weeks since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion, WHO confirmed 18 attacks on health providers.

“The 18 attacks thus far have resulted in at least ten deaths and 16 injuries,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

The attack on the children’s hospital in Mariupol followed reports of many dead and injured in relentless attacks on the port city, trapping many for days without enough food or water.

It is so dangerous to venture out that authorities in Mariupol urge people to leave the dead outside, according to sources familiar with the situation.

“If somebody dies in your family, just put the body outside, cover it, tie up the hands and the legs and leave it outside,” said a text message reportedly sent to residents by authorities.


“There are just bodies lying in the streets. There is no water, no heating, no gas,” added refugee Marina Levinchuk in comments published by The New York Times newspaper. “And they are collecting snow, melting the snow, and boiling the snow.” A 6-year-old died of dehydration, authorities said.

Christians and Jewish people in Ukraine have been praying Psalm 31 between the ongoing turmoil in the country, gathering in bomb shelters and other areas.

Russia earlier agreed Wednesday to a new 12-hour ceasefire to allow civilians to flee six of the worst-affected areas in Ukraine, said Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.

Civilians were leaving the northeastern city of Sumy and Enerhodar, the cities’ mayors say. But authorities claim ceasefire promises often remain empty words as attacks continue.

The violence has already created Europe’s worst refugee crisis in recent history.

Among more than 2 million total refugees from Ukraine, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said Wednesday that more than 1 million children have fled the country since the invasion started on February 24.


Among them was an 11-year-old Ukrainian boy who was hailed as a hero after fleeing his war-torn country by himself — with only a plastic bag, a passport, and a telephone number written on his hand.

The boy, Hassan, traveled roughly 1000 kilometers (620 miles) by train from Zaporizhzhia, the site of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, to Slovakia to meet relatives, according to Slovak officials.

The power plant was taken over by Russian forces last week after a battle during which shelling led to a fire at a training facility.

Although none of the reactors were damaged, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned the Russian attacks could have caused destruction on a far more extensive scale than the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

In a video posted to her Facebook website, the boy’s mother said she is a widow and unable to leave Zaporizhzhia because she had to stay with her sick mother, who cannot move on her own.

“I am very grateful that they saved the life of my child,” Yulia Pisetskaya said Sunday. “In your small country, there are people with big hearts … Please save our Ukrainian children and give them a safe haven,” she added.


Once Hassan safely crossed over the border, volunteers and Slovak authorities “kept him warm and provided him with food and water, which they packed for his next trip,” said Slovakia’s interior minister, Roman Mikulec.

Authorities used the telephone number written on the boy’s hand to contact his relatives.

He was reunited with his family.

It was a small moment of joy in a devastating conflict. At least scores of children are among the dead in Europe’s worst conflict since World War Two, according to U.N. and other estimates.

Around 48,000 Ukrainians have been evacuated through humanitarian corridors, Kyiv says. But millions more remain trapped, uncertain if or how they will survive the ongoing Russian invasion.

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