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Russia under fire at UN Security Council over "systemic attacks" on Ukraine's medical facilities

During the latest session of the UN Security Council, Russia faced criticism for their persistent assaults on Ukraine's medical facilities, which have resulted in numerous fatalities. "Intentionally directing attacks against a protected hospital is a war crime and perpetrators must be held to account," Joyce Msuya, acting under-secretary for humanitarian affairs, told the emergency meeting.

Published July 09,2024

Russia came under fire at the UN Security Council on Tuesday for conducting "systemic attacks" on Ukraine's medical facilities after a wave of deadly strikes across the country.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said 38 people across Ukraine were killed -- including four children -- and 190 wounded in the wave of nearly 40 missiles that targeted several towns and cities on Monday, damaging medical facilities.

"Intentionally directing attacks against a protected hospital is a war crime and perpetrators must be held to account," Joyce Msuya, acting under-secretary for humanitarian affairs, told the emergency meeting.

"These incidents are part of a deeply concerning pattern of systemic attacks harming healthcare and other civilian infrastructure across Ukraine," Msuya added.

Kyiv said a children's hospital was struck by a Russian cruise missile with components produced in NATO member countries, and announced a day of mourning in the capital.

"First Responders attending the scene immediately after the attack found children receiving treatment for cancer in hospital beds, set up in parks and on the street, where medical workers had quickly established triage areas," Msuya said.

Ukrainian ally France's envoy Nicolas de Riviere said "Russia has deliberately targeted residential neighborhoods and healthcare infrastructure."

"France condemns these flagrant violations of international law, which are yet another entry and note list of war crimes for which Russia will be held accountable," he said.

- 'Abominable' attacks -

China, which has long called for a negotiated settlement between Russia and Ukraine, said that both sides should "show political will, meet each other halfway and start peace talks at an early date."

"China will continue to actively promote peace talks," said Beijing's envoy Fu Cong.

Russia previously claimed the extensive missile damage in Kyiv was caused by Ukrainian air defense systems.

"We continue to insist that we do not strike civilian targets," spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in a daily briefing Tuesday.

However, the United Nations said there was a "high likelihood" that the children's hospital in Kyiv suffered "a direct hit" from a missile "launched by the Russian Federation."

Russia currently holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council and its envoy to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, indicated earlier this month he will take a firm line with Ukraine and its Western allies.

As a permanent member of the UN's top security body, Moscow wields a veto which it has used on several occasions to thwart efforts to censure its war in Ukraine.

It initially appeared that Russia would seek to block Ukraine from participating in Tuesday's meeting after Nebenzya said Kyiv had not correctly formatted its letter requesting to participate.

Ukraine could participate "only on condition it was requested by the United States... we regret that Ukraine cannot act independently... (and) it has to be led by its sponsor," said Nebenzya.

"Mr President, we are appalled by the strikes on Ukraine by the country that you are representing," Slovenia's representative to the UN Samuel Zbogar said to Nebenzya, calling the strikes "brutal" and "another low."

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the deadly Russian strikes in Ukraine as "particularly shocking," his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Monday.

UN rights chief Volker Turk echoed Guterres, calling the attacks "abominable," and saying that "the strikes severely damaged the intensive care, surgical and oncology wards of Okhmatdyt, which is Ukraine's largest children's referral hospital."

Zelensky has been urging allies to bolster Ukrainian air defense systems and was expected to renew those calls as a NATO summit kicked off later Tuesday in Washington.