By Olena Harmash and Max Hunder
KYIV (Reuters) – A Russian missile struck a hospital in the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro on Friday, killing at least two people and wounding 23 in an attack that President Volodymyr Zelenskiy described as a crime against humanity.
Footage showed the destroyed building as smoke billowed out and rescue workers searched. The main part of the upper part of the building, which appeared to be three stories high, was badly damaged. A covered corpse lay in a nearby street.
“Another (Russian) missile attack, another crime against humanity,” Zelenskiy wrote on Twitter, referring to the destruction of a mental hospital and a veterinary clinic in Dnipro.
“Only an evil country would fight against hospitals. There can be no military purpose for this. It is the real fear of Russia.”
Regional governor Serhiy Lysak said a 69-year-old man was killed, adding: “He was passing by when a Russian terrorist rocket hit the city.”
The governor said that the body of a man was removed from the ruins, and 21 of the 23 injured people were taken to the hospital. Three were seriously injured, he said.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense called it a serious war crime under the Geneva Conventions, which defined how soldiers and civilians should participate in hostilities.
Russia did not immediately comment on the incident in Dnipro, a major city that has been under frequent siege since Moscow launched an all-out offensive 15 months ago.
Moscow has denied claims that its forces have carried out military attacks and has deliberately refused to target civilians, although its airstrikes often target civilian buildings, including homes and hospitals.
Moscow said earlier on Friday that Ukraine had hit two regions in southern Russia with a rocket and a drone, but that the missile was shot down by its air defense systems.
Ukraine said its air defenses shot down 10 missiles and more than 20 drones launched by Russia in an attack on Dnipro, the capital Kyiv and eastern regions.
Zelenskiy’s office said a fire broke out outside the northeastern city of Kharkiv after two hits to an oil depot, damaging oil pumping equipment.
After months of attacks on electronic infrastructure, Russia has changed its focus on launching missiles to try to disrupt preparations for an attack on Ukraine, a military intelligence official said last week. Attacks are increasingly linked to weapons and ammunition, he said.