Ukraine accused of killing 14 in targeted Himars attack on Luhansk hospital

Russian Pantsir anti-aircraft missile - REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
Russian Pantsir anti-aircraft missile - REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

Russia’s ministry of defence has accused Ukraine of killing 14 people and injuring 24 in a targeted attack with Himars missiles on a hospital in rebel-controlled Luhansk, east Ukraine.

“The Ukrainian armed forces deliberately attacked the building of a district hospital with rockets of a US-made Himars multiple launch rocket system,” the Russian ministry of defence said in a statement on Saturday.

The ministry added that 14 were killed and 24 wounded among the “hospital patients and medical staff”.

“Civilian and military professionals at the healthcare facility in Novoaidar had been providing medical aid to the local population and servicemen for many months,” it added

Videos, allegedly taken at the destroyed clinic in the small town of Novoaidar which is 45 miles from the frontlines, showed a flattened building. Firemen looked on but there was no sign of any smoke or flames. Notices on the destroyed walls of the building referred to it as a clinic and gave opening times.

There was no immediate comment by the Ukrainian military but it comes four weeks after a Ukrainian Himars strike on barracks near Donetsk killed 300 soldiers.

Kostiantynivka - REUTERS/Oleksandr Ratushniak
Kostiantynivka - REUTERS/Oleksandr Ratushniak

Himars changed the momentum of the war once they were introduced to the Ukrainian side midway through 2022. Able to hit a front door from up to 54 miles away, Himars knocked out command posts and supply depots that the Russian army had thought were safely behind the frontline.

Russian commanders have since pulled back out of range but operational posts, such as field hospitals, regiment command centres and barracks are still vulnerable.

Elsewhere, Pavlo Kyrylenko, the Ukrainian governor of the Donetsk region, said that three people died after Russian shells hit a residential area in the town of Kostiantynivka, in the Donetsk region.

It came as Ukraine said it was engaged in “fast-track” talks with its Western allies about the possibility of acquiring long-range missiles and military aircraft, a top Ukrainian presidential aide said on Saturday.

Ukraine has been urging the West to send long-rang ATACMS surface-to-surface missiles, which have a range of 190 miles, and MiG and F-16 fighter jets.

While it’s not clear which weapons are part of the talks, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, said Ukraine’s supporters in the West understand the need to supply planes capable of providing cover for the armoured fighting vehicles that the United States and Germany pledged at the beginning of the month.

However, in remarks to the online video channel Freedom, Mr Podolyak said that some of Ukraine’s Western partners maintain a “conservative” attitude to arms deliveries “due to fear of changes in the international architecture”. He did not name specific countries.

The US and Germany agreed on Wednesday to share advanced tanks with Ukraine but Berlin has already ruled out sending fighter jets.