Children Buried in Wreckage as Russia Deals 'Colossal' Damage to Hospital

Russian forces reportedly landed an airstrike on Wednesday at a hospital in Mariupol that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said left adults and children beneath the rubble.

"Mariupol. Direct strike of Russian troops at the maternity hospital," Zelensky tweeted. "People, children are under the wreckage. Atrocity! How much longer will the world be an accomplice ignoring terror? Close the sky right now! Stop the killings! You have power but you seem to be losing humanity."

The Mariupol City Council first reported the attack with photos and videos of the damage spreading on social media through Ukrainian outlets like the Kyiv Independent.

"So far, Russian occupation forces have dropped several bombs on a children's hospital. The destruction is enormous," a translation of the Mariupol City Council's Telegram message read. "The building of the medical institution where the children were treated recently was completely destroyed. Information about the affected children is being clarified."

Russia has denied attacking civilians while accusations have mounted from Ukrainian civilians and government officials that the Russian military has violated temporary cease-fire agreements to allow for the evacuation of civilians.

Ukraine Russia Mariupol Hospital Airstrike
A hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, was reportedly hit by a Russian airstrike Wednesday. Above, people look at the exterior of a damaged residential block hit by an early morning missile strike on February 25, 2022, in Kyiv, Ukraine. Chris McGrath/Getty Images

A Twitter account attributed to Dmytro Gurin, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, tweeted along with a video of the hospital that no deaths had been confirmed, with at least 17 people injured.

Newsweek reached out to the Russian Defense Ministry but did not hear back in time for publication.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly said during a call with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday that Ukrainian "nationalists" were to blame for the breach of cease-fire agreements along humanitarian corridors, according to the Associated Press.

However, Ukrainian officials and other reports have said that continued shelling and other attacks from Russian forces have rendered civilian evacuations impossible.

"There are few things more depraved than targeting the vulnerable and defenceless," U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted in response to reports of the attack. "The UK is exploring more support for Ukraine to defend against airstrikes and we will hold Putin to account for his terrible crimes."

Video shared by the Mariupol City Council on Telegram shows extensive damage to several buildings, as well as several destroyed cars in the area. Authorities have not yet confirmed the number of people wounded or killed.

"Petrifying war crime in Mariupol. Russian air strike targeted a hospital and a maternity house," Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a tweet. "We could stop this barbarism by protecting our skies. For the sake of humanity, provide us with aircraft, now! Lives are being lost while this is being considered over and over again."

Kuleba also tweeted earlier Wednesday accusations that Russian forces were blocking at least 400,000 people from leaving Mariupol, and said thousands of babies lacked the proper medicine and care because of Russian forces blocking necessary aid.

A Kremlin spokesperson told Reuters that "Russian forces do not fire on civilian targets."

In other videos that were shared Wednesday, CNN identified a university building and city government building near the hospital that were reportedly damaged in a strike around the same time that the hospital was hit.

Update: 3/9/22, 1:06 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional context and information.