If a Russian missile actually struck the clinic, there would be nothing but rubble left, Vasily Nebenzia has told the UN Security Council

Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, Vasily Nebenzia, has accused Ukrainian forces of hitting a children’s hospital with an air defense missile, declaring that if a Russian missile had struck the building, “there would be nothing left.”

In an address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Dr. Vladimir Zhovnir, the director of Kiev’s Okhmatdyt children’s hospital, accused Russia of deliberately striking the facility on Monday. Two people died and scores were injured in the blast, Zhovnir claimed, calling the incident “not just a war crime, [but] far beyond the limit of humanity.”

“Does Mr. Zhovnir understand that if it was a Russian missile, there would be nothing left of the building?” Nebenzia responded. “Children and adults would have died rather than been injured.”

Nebenzia explained that Russian forces targeted the Artemov missile plant in Kiev on Monday, and that “this target was hit.” 

“Since the plant is located approximately 2km from the children’s hospital, there is every reason to believe that the Ukrainian air defense missile that hit it was intended for a Russian missile that hit the plant,” he stated, adding that “this tragedy could have been avoided if the Ukrainian Armed Forces had not deployed air defense in residential areas.”

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FILE PHOTO: Russian Ambassador to the US Antatoly Antonov.
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The Russian Defense Ministry has also explicitly denied striking the hospital. In an official statement on Monday, the ministry said that “photos and video footage from Kiev clearly confirm” that the building was hit by a falling “Ukrainian air defense missile launched from an anti-aircraft missile system within the city.”

The strike on the Artemov plant was part of a large-scale attack on Ukrainian military industry facilities and aviation bases conducted on Monday. The ministry said that the attack had been ordered in response to Ukraine’s continued attempts to damage Russian energy and economic infrastructure.

Pro-Kiev media outlets have claimed that the weapon that struck the hospital was a Russian air-launched Kh-101 cruise missile. However, others have argued that the projectile, which can apparently be seen in a video filmed from a distance by a witness, was more likely an AIM120 fired by a NASAM missile system or a PAC-3 interceptor fired by the MIM-104 Patriot missile system. Western donors have provided Ukraine with both of these weapons systems.

Ukraine’s air defense missiles have malfunctioned on numerous occasions throughout the conflict with Russia. In November 2022, a Ukrainian S-300 anti-air missile veered off course and landed on Polish soil, killing two farmers. Despite a Polish investigation confirming that the missile was fired by Ukrainian forces, Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky and his officials insisted for several weeks that it was launched by the Russian military.

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