Kyiv hospital took direct hit from Russian missile, UN analysis suggests

By Olena Harmash and Tom Balmforth

KYIV (Reuters) - A U.N. rights mission said on Tuesday there was a "high likelihood" that Kyiv's main children's hospital took a direct hit from a Russian missile during a series of airstrikes on Ukrainian cities, as the Kremlin continued to deny involvement.

Ukraine flew its flags at half mast in a national day of mourning to mark the deaths of 44 people across the country from Monday's air attacks, including four children and two people at the Okhmatdyt children's hospital in the capital.

"Analysis of the video footage and an assessment made at the incident site indicates a high likelihood that the children's hospital suffered a direct hit rather than receiving damage due to an intercepted weapon system," said Danielle Bell, head of the U.N. Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.

Ukraine's security service said it had unequivocal evidence the medical facility was hit by a Russian Kh-101 cruise missile during the deadliest series of strikes in months, and published images of what it said were fragments of the weapon's engine.

The Kremlin said, without providing evidence, it was Ukrainian anti-missile fire, not Russia, that hit the children's hospital, which is one of Europe's largest and treats patients with serious conditions such as cancer and kidney disease.

Damage at the site prompted millions of dollars in donations from inside Ukraine and abroad, more than 28 months into Russia's full-scale invasion. Eight children were wounded at the hospital, health authorities said.

The United Nations Security Council convened on Tuesday - at the request of Britain, France, Ecuador, Slovenia and the United States - over the attack.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy flew into Washington for a three-day summit of NATO leaders in which he hoped to win commitments from allies to beef up Ukraine's air defences and boost their military support.

Russian forces are slowly advancing and claimed on Tuesday the capture of the village of Yasnobrodivka in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region. There was no immediate comment from Ukraine, which has reported heavy fighting in the region for months.

During a visit to Moscow, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Russian President Vladimir Putin the "heart bleeds" when children are killed in war, conflict or a terrorist attack.

Modi's pointed remark was an implicit rebuke to Putin, who moments earlier had welcomed him to the Kremlin with a warm statement on the importance of the strategic relations between the two countries.

Zelenskiy has condemned Modi's trip to Russia, calling it "a huge disappointment and a devastating blow to peace efforts".

The Ukrainian leader vowed retaliation against Russia after Monday's attacks and Russia's Defence Ministry said it had subsequently shot down 38 drones. A Russian regional governor reported fires at an oil depot and an electricity substation.

A security source told Reuters that Ukrainian drones had attacked a Russian oil refinery, a military airfield, and an electricity substation in a joint operation.


Rescuers concluded operations at the children's hospital earlier on Tuesday. Elsewhere in the Ukrainian capital, five bodies were recovered from the ruins of a residential building where 12 people were killed, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

The death toll stood at 33 in Kyiv and 11 in the Dnipropetrovsk region, officials said, taking the total to 44. Shelling separately killed three others in the eastern town of Pokrovsk, but they were not counted as they were not killed by missiles.

Okhmatdyt's general director, Volodymyr Zhovnir, told reporters one of its young doctors had been killed, that the building for dialysis had been completely destroyed and that it no longer had electricity supply.

"At least four buildings of the hospital were partially destroyed," he said.

Ukrainian business leaders rushed to announce donations to rebuild the hospital.

There was no available figure for the total amount of donations, but Reuters calculations based on statements and Ukrainian media reports put the figure from Ukraine's corporate section at about 300 million hryvnia ($7.3 million).

In Kyiv, Oleksandr Baraboshko, 34, a strategic communications consultant, said aerial attacks like Monday's served to unite Ukrainians against Russia.

"They're not scaring us. On the contrary, they're motivating us to do even more," said Baraboshko, who helped coordinate an effort with a local shop to distribute gloves and tools to volunteers clearing debris at the hospital.

The Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague said a team of investigators visited the site of the hospital strike on Tuesday. It warned that those responsible for attacking civilian objects could be prosecuted.

In Geneva, the World Health Organization's Tarik Jasarevic said the hospital strike was one of 1,882 attacks on healthcare in Ukraine that have killed a total of 150 people in the more than two-year-old conflict.

The WHO does not attribute blame for such attacks.

(Additional reporting by Tom Peter, Max Hunder, Anastasiia Malenko, Yuliia Dysa, Yurii Kovalenko and Emma Farge; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Helen Popper and Mark Heinrich)