Switzerland condemns Mariupol hospital bombing

A Russian attack has severely damaged a maternity hospital in the besieged port city of Mariupol, Ukrainian officials say. Russia said reports that it had bombarded a children's hospital were "fake news". Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

Switzerland has condemned the bombing of a children's hospital in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, calling it an "inconceivable act of inhumanity". Ukraine accused Russia of carrying out genocide, while the Kremlin said the bombing claim was fake “information terrorism”.

This content was published on March 10, 2022 - 11:09

In a tweetExternal link published on Wednesday evening, the Swiss foreign ministry said it was appalled by the bombing of the children’s hospital, which had been supported by the Swiss authorities in the past.

“Switzerland harshly condemns this inconceivable act of inhumanity,” it wrote.

The foreign ministry called on Russia to "emphatically" comply with its obligations under international law and to stop shelling civilians and civilian facilities "immediately".

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Russia of genocide after Ukrainian officials said Russian aircraft bombed the children's hospital on Wednesday, burying patients in rubble despite a ceasefire deal for people to flee the city.

Local Ukrainian authorities said the hospital was hit several times, causing "colossal" destruction, and that 17 people were wounded. On Thursday, the city council of Mariupol said three people had died, including one child, in the attack.

"Fake news"

Russia meanwhile said on Thursday that the Ukrainian bombing claim was fake news because the building was a former maternity hospital that had long been taken over by troops.

"That’s how fake news is born," Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia's first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, said on TwitterExternal link. Polyanskiy said Russia had warned on March 7 that the hospital had been turned into a military object from which Ukrainians were firing.

A Russian foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, described the Ukrainian claim on Thursday as “information terrorism”. But another Kremlin spokesperson said on Thursday it would seek information from the Russian military about the matter.

Ukraine says it hopes to start evacuating civilians through a "humanitarian corridor" from Mariupol on Thursday.

Several previous attempts to establish a humanitarian corridor from Mariupol have failed, and people in the city of more than 400,000 people have been sheltering there without water or power for over a week.

Each side has blamed the other for the collapse of local ceasefires, including around Mariupol.

Russia's war in Ukraine entered its third week on Thursday with none of its key stated objectives reached despite thousands of people killed, more than two million refugees, and thousands forced to cower in besieged cities under relentless bombardment.

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