5.9k Share this

A Russian airstrike has devastated a maternity hospital in the besieged port city of Mariupol amid growing warnings from the West that Moscow’s invasion is about to take a more brutal and indiscriminate turn.

Ukrainian officials said the attack wounded at least 17 people, including women near childbirth.

The ground shook more than two kilometres away when the Mariupol complex was hit by a series of blasts that blew out windows and ripped away much of the front of one building.

An injured pregnant woman is taken from the bombed maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol. (AP)

Police and soldiers rushed to the scene to evacuate victims, carrying out a heavily pregnant and bleeding woman on a stretcher as light snow drifted down on burning and mangled cars and trees shattered by the blast.

Another woman wailed as she clutched her child. In the courtyard, a blast crater extended at least two storeys deep.

“Today Russia committed a huge crime,” said Volodymir Nikulin, a top regional police official, standing in the ruins. “It is a war crime without any justification.”

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the strike trapped children and others under the rubble.

Calling the siege of Mariupol “beyond an atrocity,” he used his nightly video address to urge the West to impose even tougher sanctions, so Russia “no longer has any possibility to continue this genocide.”

Video shared by Mr Zelenskyy showed cheerfully painted hallways strewn with twisted metal.

“There are few things more depraved than targeting the vulnerable and defenceless,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin will be held “to account for his terrible crimes.”

Pregnant woman were among the injured after the bombing of the maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol. (AP)
The bombed maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol suffered major damage. (AP)

Ukrainian resistance holding

Two weeks into Russia’s war in Ukraine, its military is struggling more than expected, but Putin’s invading force of more than 150,000 troops retains possibly insurmountable advantages in firepower as it bears down on key cities.

Despite often heavy shelling on populated areas, American military officials reported little change on the ground over the past 24 hours, other than Russian progress on the cities of Kharkiv and Mykolaiv.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to assess the larger military situation.

Authorities announced new cease-fires on Wednesday to allow thousands of civilians to escape bombarded towns around Kyiv as well as the cities of Mariupol, Enerhodar and Volnovakha in the south, Izyum in the east and Sumy in the northeast.

It was not immediately clear whether anyone was able to leave other cities, but people streamed out of Kyiv’s suburbs, many headed for the city centre, as explosions were heard in the capital and air raid sirens sounded repeatedly.

From there, the evacuees planned to board trains bound for western Ukrainian regions not under attack.

Kyiv residents flee

Civilians leaving the Kyiv suburb of Irpin were forced to make their way across the slippery wooden planks of a makeshift bridge, because the Ukrainians blew up the concrete span leading to Kyiv days ago to slow the Russian advance.

With sporadic gunfire echoing behind them, firefighters dragged an elderly man to safety in a wheelbarrow, a child gripped the hand of a helping soldier, and a woman inched her way along, cradling a fluffy cat inside her winter coat. They trudged past a crashed van with the words “Our Ukraine” written in the dust coating its windows.

Dead bodies are placed into a mass grave on the outskirts of Mariupol, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9, 2022 as people cannot bury their dead because of the heavy shelling by Russian forces. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka) (AP)

“We have a short window of time at the moment,” said Yevhen Nyshchuk, a member of Ukraine’s territorial defence forces. “Even if there is a cease-fire right now, there is a high risk of shells falling at any moment.”

Previous attempts to establish safe evacuation corridors over the past few days largely failed because of what the Ukrainians said were Russian attacks. But Mr Putin, in a telephone call with Germany’s chancellor, accused militant Ukrainian nationalists of hampering the evacuations.

In Mariupol, a strategic city of 430,000 people on the Sea of Azov, local authorities hurried to bury the dead from the past two weeks of fighting in a mass grave. City workers dug a trench some 25 metres long at one of the city’s old cemeteries and made the sign of the cross as they pushed bodies wrapped in carpets or bags over the edge.

About 1200 people have died in the nine-day siege of the city, Mr Zelenskyy’s office said.

Nationwide, thousands are thought to have been killed, both civilians and soldiers, since Putin’s forces invaded. The UN estimates more than two million people have fled the country, the biggest exodus of refugees in Europe since the end of World War II.

Ukrainian Territorial Defence Forces members pass though the city park in Kyiv outskirts, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Ukrainian Territorial Defence Forces members pass though the city park in Kyiv outskirts, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9, 2022 (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Warning fighting will get worse

The crisis is likely to get worse as Moscow’s forces step up their bombardment of cities in response to what appear to be stronger Ukrainian resistance and heavier Russian losses than anticipated.

Echoing remarks from the director of the CIA a day earlier, British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Russia’s assault will get “more brutal and more indiscriminate” as Putin tries to regain momentum.

Britain’s Defence Ministry said fighting continued northwest of Kyiv. Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and Mariupol were being heavily shelled and remained encircled by Russian forces.

Russian forces are placing military equipment on farms and amid residential buildings in the northern city of Chernihiv, Ukraine’s military said. In the south, Russians in civilian clothes are advancing on the city of Mykolaiv, a Black Sea shipbuilding centre of a half-million people, it said.

In less than two weeks, two million people have fled Ukraine

The Ukrainian military, meanwhile, is building up defences in cities in the north, south and east, and forces around Kyiv are “holding the line” against the Russian offensive, authorities said.

Source: 9News

5.9k Share this
You May Also Like

UK Inflation Climbs to 40-Year High of 9 Per Cent

LONDON (AP) – Britain’s inflation rate rose to the highest level in…

Coalition nipping at Labor's heels in latest poll

The poll is worrying news for Labor, with memories of 2019 still…

Donald Trump Urges Dr. Oz to Declare Victory in Pennsylvania Before Votes Fully Counted

Former President Donald Trump urged Dr. Mehmet Oz on Wednesday to declare victory…

Federal Election 2022: Who are the ‘teal candidates’ in the 2022 Federal election?

Australian politics have largely always been dominated by two major forces: the…

Suspect charged in deadly California church shooting ‘lay in wait’

Prosecutors have charged the suspect in the California church shooting with one…

Johnny Depp’s lawyer grill Amber Heard over photos looking fresh-faced after alleged abuse

Johnny Depp’s legal team grilled Amber Heard over photos of her looking…

Michelle Obama Warns of States Stripping ‘Womxn’ of Abortion Rights

Former First Lady Michelle Obama warned the world Sunday in a message…

Emma Raducanu admits people may think she’s ‘crazy’ after parting ways with three coaches

Emma Raducanu has opened up about her unusual pattern of replacing coaches,…