Kyiv, UkraineCNN —  A Russian missile strike partially destroyed a children’s hospital in Kyiv on Monday, causing terrified patients and their families to flee for their lives, as officials fear more people could be trapped beneath the rubble.

Moscow launched a brazen daytime aerial assault on targets in cities across Ukraine during morning rush hour, killing at least 36 people and injuring 137 others, according to Ukraine’s emergency service. The large scale bombardment struck areas in the capital, as well as in Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, Slovyansk and Kramatorsk.

In an update on Telegram, the emergency service said the latest figure included the number of dead and injured in the capital, which now stands at 22 people killed. Two people were killed and at least 16 were injured in the strike on Kyiv’s Okhmatdyt hospital.

The facility is Ukraine’s largest children’s medical center and has been vital in the care of some of the sickest children from across the country. Every year, around 7,000 surgeries – including treatments for cancer and hematological diseases – are conducted at the hospital, according to Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets.

Videos from the scene showed volunteers working with police and security services to sift through the rubble as smoke billowed from the hospital, as staff described how they tried to rush children to safety in the wake of the attack. Ukraine’s health minister Viktor Liashko said intensive care units, oncology departments and surgery units had been damaged.

“The key task here is to get people out of the rubble and provide assistance to those we can reach, as we have already taken out all the first ones,” he said in a Telegram post.

The attacks were part of a rare daylight bombardment on Ukrainian cities, some of which are heavily populated areas far from the front lines. It came a day before US President Joe Biden hosts a crucial NATO Summit in Washington, where new announcements over the alliance’s military, political and financial support for Kyiv are expected.

Russia’s defense ministry on Monday claimed that Moscow had struck “military industrial facilities of Ukraine and air bases of the Ukrainian armed forces” using long-range, high-precision weapons.

Continue reading