Zelensky: Russia's deadly hospital bombing proof of genocide
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Russian military's bombing of a children's hospital and maternity ward in Mariupol on Wednesday was a "war crime" and "proof that the genocide of Ukrainians is taking place."
The latest: Mariupol's City Council said in a Telegram post on Thursday that a young girl was among three people confirmed killed in the attack, which wounded at least 17 others.
Of note: Zelensky wrote on Telegram on Wednesday that children were among those buried under the hospital's wreckage, as he repeated his call for the declaration of a no-fly zone over Ukraine — which U.S. and NATO officials again ruled out after the hospital bombing, which they condemned.
"Atrocity! How much longer will the world be an accomplice ignoring terror?" Zelensky said.
What he's saying: "A children's hospital. Maternity hospital. What did they threaten the Russian Federation with?" Zelensky said in a televised address on Wednesday.
"What kind of country is this — the Russian Federation, which is afraid of hospitals and maternity hospitals and destroys them?" he continued.
"Did someone in the maternity hospital abuse Russian speakers? What was that? Was it the deNazification of the hospital?" added Zelensky, who is Jewish — referring to Putin's widely derided claims that his goal was to "demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine."
By the numbers: Mariupol officials say nearly 1,200 people have been killed during days of shelling in the port city of 430,000 that's reportedly surrounded by Russian forces.
World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement Wednesday the WHO had verified 18 attacks on health facilities in Ukraine, "including 10 deaths and 16 injuries."
The big picture: There has been intense shelling across Ukraine in the past 24 hours, but U.S. military officials said Russian forces had continued to stall — except in Kharkiv and Mykolaiv, where "heavy fighting" was taking place, per AP.
Zelensky said in his TV address that 35,000 people had been evacuated, as authorities announced fresh cease-fires to allow more civilians to leave via humanitarian corridors.
The Ukrainian leader said these evacuations would be from Sumy, northeastern Ukraine, Kyiv and its surrounding areas, and from Enerhodar in the south — where Russian forces last week seized Europe's largest nuclear power station.
Situation report: The U.K. Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update Thursday that the huge Russian convoy near Kyiv "has made little progress in over a week and is suffering continued losses at the hands of the Ukrainian Armed Forces."
"There has been a notable decrease in Russian air activity over Ukraine in recent days, likely due to the effectiveness and endurance of" Ukrainian forces, the Defense Ministry noted.
Between the lines: "Russia has deployed conscript troops to Ukraine despite public assurances from President Putin not to do so," according to the U.K. Defense Ministry.
"As casualties mount, President Putin will be forced to draw from across the Russian Armed Forces and other sources to replace his losses."
What to watch: The International Criminal Court is already investigating allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide committed in Ukraine.
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