Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said in a statement on Tuesday that its team witnessed Russian strikes during a hospital visit on April 4 in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, and managed to take cover and escape unharmed.
“Several explosions took place in close proximity to our staff over the course of about 10 minutes,” said Michel-Olivier Lacharité, MSF head of mission in Ukraine. “As they were leaving the area, the MSF team saw injured people and at least one dead body.”
The Geneva-based MSF did not give details on how it knew the strikes were Russian and did not provide evidence beyond the statement. Reuters has not been able to verify the details of what happened.
Russia denies targeting civilians since launching what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine on Feb. 24 to demilitarise and “denazify” its neighbor.
The windows of the team’s vehicle parked outside the hospital were blown out by the blasts, MSF said. The facility, a cancer hospital also treating war-wounded, is located in a residential area in eastern Mykolaiv with many medical facilities, it said.
“Bombing such a large area within a residential neighborhood in the middle of the afternoon cannot but cause civilian casualties and hit public buildings,” said Lacharité.
The MSF team of four saw numerous small holes in the ground scattered over a large area after the strikes, saying these “could be consistent with the use of cluster bombs”, the statement said.
A spokesperson for the Russian mission to the United Nations in Geneva declined to give an immediate comment.
The U.N. rights team has previously said it has received “credible reports” of several cases of Russian forces using cluster munitions – bombs with a hollow shell that explode in mid-air – in populated areas in Ukraine. read more
A WHO database shows that there have been 89 attacks on health infrastructure since Russia’s invasion began on Feb. 24, without indicating who was responsible.
At least 11 people were killed and 61 wounded in a rocket attack on Mykolaiv on Monday that hit a bus stop and shopping area, Ukrainian human rights ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova said on Tuesday.