Ukraine: Time is on 'Putin's side' warns Simon Mayall
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Oleg Sinegubov, head of the government administration of Kharkiv, accused Putin’s men of committing a “war crime” by launching air strikes against the facility in the town of Oskil – which had 330 residents inside when the bombs hit. He said 63 care home residents have since been evacuated, but could not give an update on the other 267.
Mr Sinegubov said 10 of those living at the home require wheelchairs, while another 50 have reduced mobility.
Ihor Terekhov, mayor of the city, said another 48 schools have been destroyed by Russian missiles.
Kharkiv was one of the first Ukrainian cities to be hit by Russian bombardments, and has seen thousands of civilians killed.
It comes after Russian jets bombed a maternity hospital in the southern city of Mariupol as women gave birth inside.
On Wednesday, Ukrainian authorities said Russian bombs “completely destroyed” a children’s and maternity hospital in Mariupol.
President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the attack on the hospital, a combined 600-bed complex, as evidence of “genocide”.
He said: “A children’s hospital, a maternity ward. How did they threaten the Russian Federation?
“What is this country, the Russian Federation, that is afraid of hospitals, maternity wards and is destroying them.”
A local official said the attack injured at least 17 staff, though no deaths were immediately reported.
Mr Zelensky said the “direct strike by Russian troops” had left children under the wreckage.
It comes as Mr Zelensky, giving a late-night address to his people on Thursday, voiced fears Russia is preparing to use chemical weapons in Ukraine.
He said in a fiery address: “We have found if you want to find out Russia’s plans, you should look at what Russia is accusing others of.
“We’re the ones being blamed, as if we’ve attacked a peaceful Russia. And what now. What does it mean, that we’re being accused of preparing chemical attacks?
“Have you decided to conduct a dechemicalisation of Ukraine? With what? With ammonia? With phosphorus?
“What else have you prepared for us? What do you plan to hit with chemical weapons? A maternity hospital in Mariupol? A church in Kharkiv? A children’s hospital?’”
Russian airstrikes hit three cities in Ukraine, including two in the country’s west, on Friday.
The raids hit airfields in Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk, far from the main areas of conflict, and residential buildings in the strategically important city of Dnipro.
The Ukrainian military said Russia is trying to “block” Kyiv by taking out defences to the west and north of the capital, adding there is also a risk to Brovary on the east.
It comes as a captured Russian commander said he was told to shoot civilians and was part of a unit sent to capture Kharkiv in three days.
The soldier, who has not been named, said they were told to “open fire” on the civilian population in Kharkiv, after they landed in Ukraine at the beginning of Russia’s invasion on February 24.
In a video released by Ukraine’s Security Service, he said: “We had permission to open fire on command and on all city residents.”
Kharkiv is still under Ukrainian control, but the city is still being heavily pummelled by surrounding Russian forces, with local forces reporting artillery fire.
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