Russia claims 14 killed in attack on hospital in eastern Ukraine | Russia-Ukraine war News
Russia has accused the Ukrainian military of deliberately attacking a hospital in a Russian-held area in eastern Ukraine, which it says is a war crime that left 14 people dead and 24 patients and medical personnel injured.
There was no immediate response to the allegations from Ukraine on Saturday.
The attack hit a hospital in the Russian-held community of Novoaydar and was carried out using a US-supplied HIMARS rocket launcher system, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
“Intentional missile attack on a known functioning civilian medical facility is without a doubt a serious war crime by the Kyiv regime,” the statement said. “Everyone involved in the planning and commission of this crime will be found and held accountable.”
According to him, civilian and military doctors worked in the hospital for many months, providing care to local residents and soldiers.
Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Russian troops of frequent war crimes in a conflict that has seen thousands of civilians killed and cities and towns reduced to rubble by artillery and air raids. Russia denies that it has targeted civilians.
“One More Crime”
Meanwhile, three people were killed and more than a dozen injured in a Russian attack on the eastern Ukrainian city of Konstantinovka, the local governor said Saturday.
“The Russians shelled a residential area, damaged four high-rise buildings, a hotel, garages and civilian cars,” Donetsk Governor Pavel Kirilenko said on social networks.
According to Kirilenko, rescuers and police were at the scene of the incident, “helping people and carefully documenting another crime of Russian invaders on our land.”
The footage, posted on Kirilenko’s Telegram account, shows apartment buildings with broken windows and debris strewn around the charred remains of a car.
According to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Russia fired at Konstantinovka from multiple launch rocket systems.
Nearly a year after invading Ukraine, Moscow is seeking to seize control of the entire Donetsk region, which it has already declared part of Russia.
“Intentional Destruction of Cities”
Ukraine said this week that Russian troops have stepped up their attacks in the east, especially on the towns of Vugledar and Bakhmut.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has described the fighting near Bakhmut and Vuhledar, 200 kilometers to the south, as “extremely sharp.”
“The invaders are not just storming our positions, they are purposefully and methodically destroying these cities and villages around them,” he said.
Ukrainian forces are engaged in a “fierce battle” with Russian soldiers for control of Vuhledar as both sides fight on the southern front. Both sides claimed success in a small administrative center of tenement houses surrounded by flat fields.
“The encirclement and subsequent liberation of this city solves many problems,” said Denis Pushilin, Moscow-appointed head of the Donetsk region.
But Kyiv said the city, which had a pre-invasion population of around 15,000, remains contested. “There are fierce battles going on there,” Ukrainian military spokesman Serhiy Cherevaty told local media.
“Decisive Strategic Action”
Bloomberg News reported that Russia was keen to demonstrate that its military could turn the tide of a war after months of setbacks on the battlefield by launching a full-scale offensive.
He quoted unnamed Russian officials and advisers as saying the goal is to win quick wins to gain control of the eastern regions that were annexed last year in order to strengthen Moscow’s position in any future peace talks.
The American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) think tank agreed with the report.
“This report is consistent with ISW’s current assessment and forecast that the Kremlin is likely preparing for decisive strategic action – most likely in the Luhansk region – in the next six months to regain the initiative and end Ukraine’s current string of operational successes,” it said.
“ISW has previously assessed that a decisive strategic action in the Luhansk region could be either a major offensive or a Russian defensive operation aimed at defeating and developing a Ukrainian counteroffensive.”
One Ukrainian official said that perhaps Russia would time its major offensive to coincide with the anniversary of the start of the war last year.
“It’s no secret that they are preparing for a new wave by February 24,” Oleksiy Danilov, head of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, told Radio Liberty on Friday.
The goal is to capture the entire Donbas — Donetsk and Lugansk — and then “completely go beyond the regions,” Danilov said.