Death toll rises to 38 in Russian missile attacks on Ukraine that hit children's hospital

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At least 38 people, including four children, were killed in Russian missile attacks across Ukraine on Monday, as Moscow faces widespread condemnation for striking a children’s hospital in Kyiv.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said another 190 people were wounded and 64 hospitalized in the Russian missile strikes that targeted the cities of Kyiv, Dnipro and Kryvyi Rih in a rare daylight attack Monday morning.

Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials have expressed outrage at the Russian strikes, especially after one missile hit Okhmatdyt, the largest children’s hospital in Ukraine, wounding more than a dozen, including young cancer patients.

Zelensky said he was disappointed that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin this week while Russia bombs Ukraine.

“It is a huge disappointment and a devastating blow to peace efforts to see the leader of the world’s largest democracy hug the world’s most bloody criminal in Moscow on such a day,” Zelensky wrote on X.

Olena Zelenska, the First lady of Ukraine, said in a post on X that the children’s hospital strike was “absolute and unjustified cruelty.”

“There can be no ambiguity when a medical facility with hundreds of children is shelled,” she wrote. “We hope for the world’s help to protect them.”

The Russian strikes, part of Moscow’s strategy to hit Ukrainian cities and target energy infrastructure, come as leaders from the western security alliance NATO gather in Washington this week for a high-stakes summit.

Ukraine will be a major part of the summit as western leaders discuss how to better defend the country and eventually include it into the alliance.

The U.S. has condemned the Russian strike on the children’s hospital.

President Biden said in a Monday statement that Russia’s attacks on the children’s hospital are a “horrific reminder of Russia’s brutality.”

“It is critical that the world continues to stand with Ukraine at this important moment and that we not ignore Russian aggression,” he said. “This week, I will be welcoming President Zelenskyy and NATO leaders to Washington D.C., and I will be meeting with President Zelenskyy to make clear our support for Ukraine is unshakeable.”

Biden also said he will announce new measures to strengthen Ukraine’s air defenses to protect against Russian attacks.

Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder did not say whether any new air defense capabilities would be provided but told reporters Monday the NATO summit will show a “demonstration of the strength, unity and resolve of the NATO alliance, particularly as it applies to assisting Ukraine in terms of enabling them to defend themselves and their sovereignty.”

Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov claimed the U.S. was “shamelessly using the deadly attack” to accuse Moscow of crimes, alleging a Ukrainian missile hit the children’s hospital, according to Russian state-run media outlet TASS.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the U.S. was “sure” it was a Russian attack and that Russia’s “pattern of strikes” on civilian targets indicate that the hospital strike may have been deliberate.

“It’s hard to conclude it’s anything but deliberate. This isn’t just one strike,” he said at a Monday briefing. “There are no Ukrainian military assets, and yet you see the Russian military continue to strike them time after time.”

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby also said the strike on the children’s hospital is part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategy to hit civilian infrastructure.

“He doesn’t care whether he’s hitting hospitals or residential buildings,” Kirby told reporters Monday, adding that the NATO summit will send a message to Putin. “What you’re going to see over the course of the week is a very strong set of signals and messages to Putin that he can’t wait NATO out, he can’t wait the United States out, that we’re going to continue to support Ukraine.”

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