Russia’s Bombing of Ukraine Children Hospital is ‘Abominable’
Children with cancer outside Okhmatdyt Hospital after the attack.

Russia’s bombing of a children’s hospital and women’s health centre in Ukraine’s capital Kiev on Monday is “abominable”, said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk.

“Civilians must be protected, and the laws of war strictly adhered to,” added Türk. “There must be prompt, thorough and independent investigations into these latest grave attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, and those responsible must be held to account.”

“Shockingly, one of the strikes severely damaged the intensive care, surgical and oncology wards of Okhmatdyt, which is Ukraine’s largest children’s referral hospital, and destroyed its children’s toxicology department, where children receive dialysis,” said Türk.

Okhmatdyt Hospital serves more than 20,000 children annually. Monday’s missile attack struck a medical building at the hospital where children were receiving dialysis, while also damaging the intensive care, operating, and oncology departments, according to the Minister of Health of Ukraine.

The entire hospital is without electricity, preventing the use of ventilators and other urgent care.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), said that “several floors of the largest children’s hospital in Kyiv were severely impacted today, disrupting the hospital’s operations and affecting its ability to provide critical care to the young patients.”

Meanwhile, Türk said that OHCHR staff visiting the scene shortly after the attack had “observed children receiving treatment for cancer in hospital beds set up in parks and on streets, where medical workers had quickly established triage areas, amongst chaos, dust and debris.”

Health officials said the entire hospital was now without electricity, preventing the use of ventilators and other urgent care. It was not immediately clear how many people were killed in the strike.

The ISIDA Medical Centre, one of the largest women’s health and family planning centres in Ukraine, was also affected by the attack, with several casualties.

The attack comes the day before a NATO summit in Washington DC.

Russia has attacked Ukraine’s health care workers, facilities, and other medical infrastructure at least 1,442 times since its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and 13 April 2024,according to data from a partnership made up of the Ukrainian Health Center, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) and others.

Russian attacks on Ukraine health care since February 2022.

“Russia’s strategy in Ukraine includes attacking babies and children. Domestic and international actors should intensify efforts to hold perpetrators accountable for these war crimes,” said Uliana Poltavets, PHR’s Ukraine emergency response coordinator in a statement.

Researchers have documented 79 attacks that affected children’s health care, including 54 attacks that destroyed or damaged children’s hospitals.

“Today’s devastating attack on the largest children’s hospital is emblematic of Russia’s onslaught against Ukraine’s health care system. Again and again, we have witnessed Russian forces attack vulnerable patients, health workers, and hospitals across the country,” said Poltavets.

PHR called on “domestic and international prosecutors, including the International Criminal Court, to prioritise the investigation and prosecution of attacks on health care.”

Image Credits: Twitter.

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