Russia rained cruise missiles down on children’s hospitals across Ukraine, reportedly killing 41 civilians

The children sat in stunned silence, their fragile bodies still tethered to medical drips outside the Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital in central Kyiv, where an impromptu field clinic had sprung up.

They had not long emerged from the hospital’s dark, dusty bomb shelter, and their eyes were still adjusting to the light.

A woman rushed past, cradling an infant covered with blood.

Just an hour earlier, Okhmatdyt, Ukraine’s largest paediatric clinic, renowned for its cancer treatment and a place many of the children had called home for months, had been targeted by a powerful Russian missile attack that killed at least four people and left many injured. At least 32 more died in strikes across countries.

The hospital’s toxicology ward lay in ruins, wrecked by the explosion that sent shrapnel tearing through the main hospital building, shattering its windows. One of the surgical rooms, where doctors had been operating on a child, was reduced to rubble. People in Kyiv dig through rubble after Russian strike hits children’s hospital – video

Russia’s deadly strike on Monday was not the first of its kind – more than 1,700 medical facilities have been hit since the start of the full-scale invasion, according to the International Rescue Committee.

Still, the sheer brutality of the attack is certain to send shock waves across the west and prompt furious calls in Ukraine for enhanced air defences.

Hundreds of rescuers on Monday afternoon were still combing through the wreckage of the hospital’s toxicology ward, searching for those living or dead still trapped under the rubble, as the first accounts of shock and horror emerged. Outside the hospital entrance, civilians formed a human chain to help clear the rubble brick by brick.

Maria Soloshenko, a 21-year-old nurse who was in the toxicology ward during the strike, described how children – some as young as 18 months old and suffering from kidney problems – had to be hurriedly taken off dialysis and evacuated through the building’s windows.

Soloshenko recounted how she treated another nurse with an open head wound, initially failing to recognise her amid the dust, rubble and blood that covered her face.

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