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Zelensky: Russia's deadly hospital bombing proof of genocide

President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses members of Ukraine's Parliament via VideoLink on Tuesday. [House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images]

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.


(c) 2022, Axios


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