Children's hospital is blown up as Putin launches 'genocidal' missile strikes on multiple Ukraine cities on eve of NATO summit: At least 20 dead – with youngsters feared buried beneath medical centre rubble

Russian missiles today slammed into a Ukrainian children’s hospital in Kyiv, one of several ‘genocidal’ attacks launched by Vladimir Putin’s forces across the country.

Explosions rang out and black smoke could be seen rising from the centre of the Ukrainian capital. The assault is the biggest bombardment of Kyiv for several months, and comes on the eve of a key NATO summit in Washington.

Several other cities were also hit in Monday’s salvo, with another Russian attack in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih said to have killed at least 10 people.

Reports said at least 20 people were killed and 50 injured across the country. In Kyiv alone, 10 were killed and 35 were wounded, officials said.

Meanwhile, further explosions were heard over the capital after the initial strikes as Ukrainian air defences intercepted more projectiles – thought to be drones, even as rescuers worked to clear the rubble at the country’s largest children’s hospital.

Pictures distributed by officials from the children’s medical facility showed people digging through mounds of debris, black smoke billowing over a gutted building and medical staff wearing blood-stained scrubs.

Children – some still hooked up to medical machines – were pictured outside the building in hospital beds, or being held by their mothers or hospital staff.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia had targeted five cities with more than 40 missiles of different types in the assault, adding that people were trapped under the rubble of the children’s hospital.

The daylight attacks included Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, one of the most advanced Russian weapons, the Ukrainian air force said. The Kinzhal flies at 10 times the speed of sound, making it hard to intercept. City buildings shook from the blasts. 

‘There are people under the rubble, and the exact number of casualties is still unknown,’ the president wrote on social media. ‘Right now, everyone is helping to clear the rubble – doctors and ordinary people.’

Russian missiles have struck a children’s hospital in Kyiv and killed at least three people elsewhere in the Ukrainian capital, authorities have said. In shocking footage, a woman is seen carrying a young child, along side a medical worker. All three are covered in blood

A huge fireball is seen rising over Kyiv next to another smoke plume today

A huge fireball is seen rising over Kyiv next to another smoke plume today

A child receives medical attention after the Russian missile strikes on a Kyiv children's hospital

A child receives medical attention after the Russian missile strikes on a Kyiv children’s hospital

Rescuers work at Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital that was damaged during a Russian missile strikes, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 8, 2024

Rescuers work at Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital that was damaged during a Russian missile strikes, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 8, 2024

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia had targeted five cities with more than 40 missiles of different types in a 'genocidal' attack, adding that people were trapped under the rubble of the children's hospital. Pictured: People help to clear the rubble at the site

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia had targeted five cities with more than 40 missiles of different types in a ‘genocidal’ attack, adding that people were trapped under the rubble of the children’s hospital. Pictured: People help to clear the rubble at the site

Rescuers work at Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital after it was struck by Russian missiles

Rescuers work at Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital after it was struck by Russian missiles

A woman sits next to the bodies of her relatives killed during a Russian missile strikes, July 8

A woman sits next to the bodies of her relatives killed during a Russian missile strikes, July 8

Several cities across Ukraine were hit in Monday's salvo

Several cities across Ukraine were hit in Monday’s salvo

The attack struck Okhmatdyt children’s hospital in Kyiv, Ukraine’s biggest children’s medical facility, that sits on the outskirts of the city’s central district.

Its significance has been likened to London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.

There was no official word on casualties there, but one report said five people were killed at the site, with rescue efforts continuing.

Russian strikes also ‘destroyed or damaged’ three electrical substations in Kyiv, the energy operator DTEK said. ‘Three DTEK transformer substations were destroyed or damaged in the Golosiivskyi and Shevchenkivskyi districts. Power grids were also damaged,’ DTEK said on social media.

Other cities – notably Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, Slov’yansk and Krematorsk were also hit in a brutal attack from dictator Vladimir Putin’s forces that plainly impacted on civilians.

In Kryvyi Rih, birthplace of Zelensky, ten were reported killed, with 31 wounded.

The president is currently out of the country on a visit to Poland. He arrived in Warsaw as news of the shocking attacks broke around the world.

‘Russian terrorists once again massively attacked Ukraine with missiles. Different cities: Kyiv, Dnipro, Kryvyi Rig, Sloviansk, Kramatorsk,’ Zelensky said, listing major civilians hubs in the south and east of the country. 

‘More than 40 missiles of various types Residential buildings, infrastructure, and a children’s hospital have been damaged.’

Municipal officials said earlier that at least seven people had been killed in the barrage that hit Kyiv. 

‘Attack on Ukraine at a time when there are the most people on the streets. Crazy Russian terrorists,’ posted Zelenskiy’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak.

‘They beat the cities, where there were many people. They hit the children’s hospital. There are children. It is a terror that the world must see and respond to. 

‘This is genocide,’ he added.

Women hold young patients at Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital that was damaged during Russian missile strikes, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 8, 2024

Women hold young patients at Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital that was damaged during Russian missile strikes, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 8, 2024

A woman holds the hand of a young patient outside Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital today

A woman holds the hand of a young patient outside Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital today

A woman carries a child near Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital after it was struck by missiles

A woman carries a child near Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital after it was struck by missiles

A small child receives medical attention in an ambulance after Monday's missile strikes

A small child receives medical attention in an ambulance after Monday’s missile strikes

Medical staff, some covered in blood, are seen joining the rescue efforts in Kyiv today

Medical staff, some covered in blood, are seen joining the rescue efforts in Kyiv today

Rescuers work at Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital after it was struck today

Rescuers work at Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital after it was struck today

Smoke rises over the Kyiv skyline after a Russian attack, Monday, July 8, 2024

Smoke rises over the Kyiv skyline after a Russian attack, Monday, July 8, 2024

Medical staff provide assistance to local residents injured during a missile attack in Kyiv today

Medical staff provide assistance to local residents injured during a missile attack in Kyiv today

Children look on near Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital that was damaged during Russian missile strikes in Kyiv, Ukraine July 8, 2024.

Children look on near Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital that was damaged during Russian missile strikes in Kyiv, Ukraine July 8, 2024.

Rescuers work at Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital after today's strikes

Rescuers work at Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital after today’s strikes

Rescuers work at Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital that was damaged during Russian missile strikes, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 8, 2024

Rescuers work at Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital that was damaged during Russian missile strikes, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 8, 2024

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

One target appeared to be an unfinished business centre near the Lukyanovskaya metro station in the centre of Kyiv.

In Krematorsk, the Russian Armed Forces hit a machine-building plant, with a column of smoke rising above it.

In Kryvyi Rih the administrative building of an industrial enterprise was hit.

‘In Dnipro, a high-rise building and an enterprise were damaged. A service station was damaged. There are wounded,’ the Dnipropetrovsk governor Sergiy Lysak said.

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.

There was no immedate comment on the strikes from the Kremlin but it insists its forces do not target civilian infrastructure. 

The Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital in Kyiv is the largest children’s hospital in Ukraine, and is famous around Europe for its excellence.

As a result of the strike, the toxicology department was damaged. 

The hospital director Volodymyr Zhovnir said a missile had hit one of his buildings – understood to be the toxicology department.

They are organising the evacuation and relocation of everyone in the premises.

A source told Ukrainian Pravda that there were victims in the hospital.The debris was being cleared by rescuers who asked for silence to hear any cries from anyone buried under the rubble.

Rescuers were seen on video desperately removing rubble as sick children sat outside attached to drips.  

The hospital housed children receiving dialysis, said Minister of Health Viktor Lyashko. They were attached to blood purification devices.

Intensive care, operating, and oncology departments were damaged, he said. ‘The first task is to transport patients to a place where there is a ventilator and oxygen.’

Rescuers work at Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital that was damaged during a Russian missile strikes, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 8, 2024

Rescuers work at Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital that was damaged during a Russian missile strikes, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 8, 2024

Rescuers work at a site of a building damaged during a Russian missile strikes, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 8, 2024

Rescuers work at a site of a building damaged during a Russian missile strikes, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 8, 2024

Black smoke rises over the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on July 8, 2024 after the Russian attack

Black smoke rises over the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on July 8, 2024 after the Russian attack

A Ukrainian firefighter works to extinguish a fire in a residential building following a missile attack in Kyiv on July 8, 2024

A Ukrainian firefighter works to extinguish a fire in a residential building following a missile attack in Kyiv on July 8, 2024

Ukrainian firefighters work to extinguish a fire at the site of a missile attack in Kyiv on July 8

Ukrainian firefighters work to extinguish a fire at the site of a missile attack in Kyiv on July 8

Smoke from a missile is seen in the sky on July 8, 2024 over Kyiv

Smoke from a missile is seen in the sky on July 8, 2024 over Kyiv

Smoke from a missile explosion rises over the city on July 8, 2024

Smoke from a missile explosion rises over the city on July 8, 2024

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko urged residents to stay in shelters.

Zelensky and other officials in Kyiv have been urging Ukraine’s allies to send more air defence systems, including Patriots, to the war-battered country to help fend off fatal Russian aerial bombardments.

‘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.

As outrage grew over the strike, Russian sources claimed the children’s hospital was hit during an attack on a ‘plant’ and ‘patriot missile complexes’.

But one Russian military analyst – Sergey Markov – went as far as to claim it had been Ukrainian missiles that hit the hospital, repeating a line that has been seen in previous atrocities committed by Moscow’s armies against Ukraine.

‘Such a photo will be on all screens until the NATO Summit in Washington,’ he said referring to the hospital strike. ‘These are children with cancer who are sitting on the streets of Kyiv, because the hospital building is broken.

‘It was destroyed by missiles of the Air Defence Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces,’ he claimed, ‘because the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was holding a meeting in a building next to the hospital – the generals of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were covered by children.

‘But this truth will be known in Russia, yet Western audiences will hide this truth.

‘And the Western world will be howling for a week.’

The attack came on the eve of the three-day Nato summit in Washington.

The gathering of western leaders will look at how to reassure Ukraine of the alliance’s unwavering support and offer Ukrainians hope that their country can come through Europe’s biggest conflict since the Second World War. 

This is a breaking news story. More to follow… 

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