Russia Targets Ukrainian Children's Hospital in July 8 Attack

Human Rights Watch

Russian forces' strikes on multiple cities in Ukraine on July 8, 2024, killed at least 42 civilians, including five children, and injured at least 190, according to Ukrainian authorities. The attacks also caused significant damage to vital infrastructure, including the Okhmatdyt children's hospital in Kyiv, the country's largest children's hospital.

The hospital's director told the UN Security Council that the strike severely damaged several departments, including the intensive care units and oncology and surgical wings, and completely destroyed the toxicology and traumatology departments. The director also said that hundreds of children, including those undergoing dialysis treatment, were evacuated immediately after air raid sirens went off at 9:52 am.

When the first strike hit, less than an hour after the sirens went off, patients and staff were still in the hospital, including three patients undergoing heart surgery. Ten children were injured in the attack. On July 10, the Ukrainian health minister reported that a child who had been evacuated from Okhmatdyt's intensive care unit in a critical condition had died in another hospital.

"Many of Russia's attacks in Ukraine have resulted in immense civilian loss and harm, and the July 8 attacks only added to that horrendous toll," said Tirana Hassan, executive director at Human Rights Watch. "Attacks directed at medical facilities are war crimes under international humanitarian law, and the strike that hit Okhmatdyt children's hospital should be investigated as a potential war crime."

Since Russia commenced its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, at least 1,736 medical facilities in Ukraine have been damaged or destroyed. On March 9, 2022, a bomb air-dropped by Russian forces landed in one of the courtyards of Mariupol's Hospital #3, damaging maternity and pediatric units and killing and injuring patients and staff.

As of June, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine put the number of civilians killed since the start of full-scale invasion at least 9,560 civilians with at least 21,450 more injured, mainly by explosive weapons with wide area effects. The casualties include at least 1,796 children (594 killed and 1202 injured).

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