UN says Security Council to hold emergency Ukraine meeting


The U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Ukraine on Tuesday after a deadly Russian strike on a Kiev children’s hospital, a spokesman for the world body said.

The session scheduled for 10:00 am (1400 GMT) follows a request from Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, U.N. spokesman Farhan Aziz Haq told AFP.

Zelensky said 38 people were killed and 190 wounded Monday in a wave of missiles that targeted towns and cities.

He said Kiev was “initiating an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council due to the Russian strike on civilian infrastructure”.

The U.N. said Tuesday there was a “high likelihood” that the children’s hospital in the capital suffered “a direct hit” from a Russian missile.

Danielle Bell, head of the U.N. Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, called the strike “one of the most egregious attacks that we’ve seen since the onset of the full-scale invasion” by Russia in February 2022.

The strikes damaged nearly 100 buildings, including multiple schools and a maternity hospital.

The air force said air defense systems downed 30 projectiles.

“It is necessary to shoot down Russian missiles. It is necessary to destroy the Russian combat aircraft on its bases. It is necessary to take strong steps that will not leave any security deficit,” Zelensky said ahead of a NATO summit where arming Ukraine’s air defenses is expected to top the agenda.

Following the strikes, U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday promised “new measures” to boost Ukraine’s air defenses.

“Together with our allies, we will be announcing new measures to strengthen Ukraine’s air defenses to help protect their cities and civilians from Russian strikes,” Biden said.

‘Barbaric’ attack

U.N. rights chief Volker Turk condemned the “abominable” Russian strikes, while the body’s chief Antonio Guterres said attacking medical facilities was “particularly shocking”, according to his spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

The United States denounced “another savage missile attack on civilians”, while the European Union slammed Moscow for its “ruthless” actions.

France’s foreign ministry called the bombardment of a children’s hospital “barbaric”, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the attack as “abhorrent” and Japan’s government spokesman “strongly condemned” the strike.

Kiev said the children’s hospital had been struck by a Russian cruise missile with components produced in NATO member countries and announced a day of mourning in the capital.

Russia hit back claiming the extensive missile damage in Kiev was caused by Ukrainian air defense systems.

Moscow said its forces had struck their “intended targets”, which it added were only defense industry and military installations.

Medical staff acted quickly to move patients and personnel to the facility’s basement after air raid sirens rang out over Kiev on Monday.

“For some reason, we always thought that Okhmatdyt was protected,” said Nina, a 68-year-old hospital employee.

“We were 100 percent sure that they would not hit here,” she told AFP, describing the frantic rush as staff moved children with IV drips to the bunker.

Officials said the attack had also damaged several residential buildings and an office block in Kiev where AFP reporters saw cars on fire and shredded trees in charred courtyards.

DTEK, Ukraine’s largest private energy company, said three of its electrical substations had been destroyed or damaged in Kiev. Russian strikes on electricity infrastructure have already halved Ukrainian generation capacity in recent weeks compared to one year ago.

Russian forces have repeatedly targeted the capital with massive barrages since invading Ukraine in February 2022, and the last major attack on Kiev with drones and missiles was last month.

Must respond ‘with force’

The emergency services said 22 people were killed in Kiev on Monday, including at both medical facilities hit in the attack, and that another 72 had been wounded.

In Zelensky’s hometown of Kryvyi Rig, which has been repeatedly targeted by Russian bombardment, the strikes killed at least 10 and wounded more than 41, officials there said.

In Dnipro, a city of around one million people in the same region, one person was killed and six more were wounded, the region’s governor said, when a high-rise residential building and petrol station were hit.

And in the eastern Donetsk region, where Russian forces have taken a string of villages in recent weeks, the regional governor said three people were killed in Pokrovsk — a town that had a pre-war population of around 60,000 people.

“This shelling targeted civilians, hit infrastructure, and the whole world should see today the consequences of terror, which can only be responded to by force,” the head of Ukraine’s presidential administration, Andriy Yermak, wrote on social media.

Zelensky and other officials in Kiev have been urging Ukraine’s allies to send more air defense systems, including Patriots, to help fend off deadly Russian aerial bombardment.

“Russia cannot claim ignorance of where its missiles are flying and must be held fully accountable for all its crimes,” Zelensky said in another post on social media.__Daily Hurriyet