They bomb a pediatric hospital; attack draws global condemnation

KYIV.

TOAt least 17 adults were injured yesterday in the Russian bombardment of a pediatric hospital in Mariupol, a port in southeastern Ukraine, regional official Pavlo Kirilenko announced.

The attack “literally destroyed” a maternity hospital in the city center that also included a pediatric unit, Kirilenko, the leader of the southern Donetsk region, said on Facebook.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called it a “war crime,” while the world was outraged by the attack.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson denounced an “immoral” attack and the White House criticized the “barbaric” use of force against civilians.

For its part, the humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders considered that the bombing is a violation of the laws of war.

In a city where the health system is on the brink of collapse, depriving people of health care is a violation of the laws of war,” the organization said in a statement.

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed yesterday that at least 10 people have died and 16 have been injured in 18 attacks in Ukraine against health centers and ambulances.

IMF APPROVES 1,400 MDP AS AID

The board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday approved an emergency financing of 1.4 billion dollars for Ukraine, in order to help the battered country with the “massive humanitarian and economic crisis” caused by the Russian invasion.

The managing director of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, indicated that the package will provide “critical financial support” which, in turn, will favor a “large-scale mobilization” of funds necessary to “mitigate the economic impacts of the war.”

The need for financing is important, urgent, and could increase considerably as the war continues”, indicated the director.

According to Georgieva, Ukraine will experience a “deep recession” this year.

Before the war, the IMF estimated a growth of the Ukrainian economy of 3.6% for 2022.

Ukraine, one of the poorest countries in Europe, was already benefiting from an IMF aid program.

EVACUATE 35 THOUSAND PEOPLE

Yesterday Russia and Ukraine agreed to a new ceasefire to evacuate civilians through three new humanitarian corridors: from Energodar to Zaporizhia (south), from Izium to Lozova (east) and from Sumy to Polatava (northeast).

Last night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video message that the evacuation of at least 35,000 Ukrainians had been achieved.

The day before, more than 5,000 were evacuated from Sumy, a city of 250,000 people near the Russian border, where heavy fighting has taken place.

However, attempts to evacuate the port of Mariupol have repeatedly failed, with Kiev and Moscow blaming each other for the failures.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) indicated that more than 140,000 refugees joined the more than two million exiles who have fled Ukraine since February 24 in the last 24 hours; they ensure that the flow will expand further as more corridors are activated.

Meanwhile, Turkey is preparing for the first direct meeting between the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine since the conflict began.

The head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov, arrived in this country yesterday for the meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, in the Antalya resort, where they will be received by Turkish Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

The president of the host country, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has tried to mediate in the conflict, stressed on Wednesday that his country “can talk at the same time with Ukraine and Russia.”

We work to prevent the crisis from turning into a tragedy,” Erdogan said.

-AFP

MILITARY ASSISTANCE TO UKRAINE ANALYZED

US Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Warsaw yesterday to assess how to provide “military assistance” to Ukraine, the White House reported, coinciding with the controversy caused by Poland’s offer of its fighter jets.

Harris’s trip was planned before Poland proposed last Tuesday to hand over its Mig-29 fighter jets to Ukraine to deal with Russia.

The vice president will meet today with Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, according to US sources.

Harris will also meet Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Poland, with whom he will hold a meeting.

The official plans to talk with Ukrainian refugees and with the staff of the embassy of her country in Kiev, who left the diplomatic headquarters.

-AFP

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