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Shevchuk: Russian attack on Kyiv children’s hospital ‘a sin that cries out to heaven for revenge’

Women hold patients outside Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, July 8, 2024, after it was severely damaged during Russian missile strikes amid Russia's war on Ukraine. At least 31 were killed and over 135 injured as Russian bombers pummeled Kyiv and numerous other cities throughout the nation that day with more than 40 missiles and guided aerial bombs, with one striking the large children's hospital, where emergency crews searched the rubble for victims. (OSV News photo/Gleb Garanich, Reuters)

(OSV News) — A July 8 attack by Russia on a children’s hospital and other civilian targets throughout Ukraine is “a sin that cries out to heaven for revenge,” said the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

At least 31 have been killed and over 135 injured as Russian bombers pummeled Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and numerous cities throughout the nation with more than 40 missiles and guided aerial bombs.

Among the sites struck was the Okhmatdyt children’s hospital in Kyiv, where two adults died and 16 were injured, including seven children.

Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi reported on his X (formerly Twitter) account that one of those adult victims was 30-year-old Svitlana Lukyanchuk, a Lviv-born pediatric nephrologist.

With rescue efforts ongoing, the casualty count is expected to rise. July 9 has been declared a day of mourning in Kyiv.

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, released a July 8 statement denouncing the strike.

“In the name of God, with all determination, we condemn this crime against humanity,” he said. “This is not only a crime against human laws and rules, international rules that tell us about the customs and rules of warfare. According to Christian morality, this is a sin that cries out to heaven for revenge.”

Associated Press footage of the attack showed dozens of individuals digging through the rubble to free survivors, with bandaged hospital patients being carried in their mother’s arms to shelter.

Ukraine President Volodmyr Zelenskyy called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council in response to the strike on civilian infrastructure, which is prohibited under international humanitarian law.

Major Archbishop Shevchuk lamented that children who had come to the hospital for lifesaving treatment — some of whom were in kidney surgery and other medical procedures — “were mercilessly killed by Russian criminals.”

His statement, posted to the website of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, included an image from Ukraine public broadcaster Suspilne showing a surviving patient of the children’s hospital being carried in a woman’s arms. The child was covered in blood and dust, with medical tubes and tapes dangling, as a blood-streaked medical professional looks on.

“We saw how the doctors saved lives even with bloodied faces,” said the archbishop, adding that medical workers and volunteers were digging through the hospital’s wreckage “to save even those children whose hearts are beating there under the rubble.”

“Today we cry with all the victims,” said Major Archbishop Shevchuk. “Today we want to pray for all the dead, especially innocently killed children. Today, we want to wrap our Christian love around all the wounded, all those who are currently hurting the most.” .

He concluded his statement with a prayer “for the protection and victory of the lives of our children and women.

“Merciful God, bless our long-suffering Ukrainian land with your just peace,” said Major Archbishop Shevchuk.

Reached by telephone July 8, two staffers at the Russian Embassy in Washington declined to comment to OSV News about the attack, with one promising to “check with colleagues” in the embassy’s press center regarding a possible statement, which OSV News has not yet received.

Two joint reports from the New Lines Institute and the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights have determined Russia’s invasion — which continues attacks launched in 2014 — constitutes genocide, with Ukraine reporting more than 135,141 war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine since February 2022.

During its recent meeting in Bucharest, Romania, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly adopted a resolution recognizing Russia’s 10-year aggression against Ukraine as genocide.

Gina Christian is a multimedia reporter for OSV News. Follow her on X (formerly Twitter) at @GinaJesseReina.

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