Children's hospital bombed in Kyiv: mistake or strategy?

Ukraine's largest children's hospital Okhmatdyt was destroyed by a missile strike on Monday. Two people were killed, but an even greater tragedy was prevented by evacuating the building at short notice. A UN monitoring mission has said that there was "a high likelihood" of this being a direct hit from a Russian missile and condemned the strike as one of the most "shocking" attacks since the beginning of the invasion. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied the allegations.

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France Inter (FR) /

The timing is no coincidence

Russia has issued threats in several directions with this attack, France Inter notes:

“What is Moscow's goal in this escalation of horror? In the absence of any military target, the goal can only be psychological: to break the morale of the Ukrainians after targeting the energy infrastructure of the major cities. The timing was also carefully chosen: 48 hours before the Nato summit in Washington. ... The participants are likely to promise additional military support to Volodymyr Zelensky, although not the membership he wants. Vladimir Putin feels strong enough to send this deterrent message in the form of missiles.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

The real crime is this kind of warfare

Even if it is not necessarily targeting civilian buildings, Moscow's actions are despicable, says the Tages-Anzeiger:

“The children's hospital is located next to the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure, which organises the transport of weapons. In the north of Kyiv, Russian missiles also hit residential buildings, but they mainly hit the Artem ammunitions plant nearby. Near the front line, military and civilian infrastructure are even closer to one another. ... So it can't be ruled out that Russia was pursuing a different goal than the destruction of the children's hospital. ... But even if the Russian leadership didn't intentionally shell Okhmatdyt, it accepts this as collateral damage with this kind of warfare.”

Echo (RU) /

The time of day alone is a crime

The missile attack violated the Geneva Convention even if the hospital was not the intended target, writer and journalist Yulia Latynina stresses in a Telegram post republished by Echo:

“There is an internationally recognised method for reducing the risk to the civilian population in such missile attacks: strike at night. Putin fired during the day. Regardless of whether the hospital was hit on purpose or not, this daytime attack cannot be written off as an accident. ... It violates the precautionary principle for attacks enshrined in the Geneva Convention. This principle requires that all possible precautions be taken to prevent or minimise harm to the civilian population.”