World churches body denounces Russian missile strikes on civilians and hospitals in Ukraine

(Photo: Ivars Kupcis / WCC)Residential buildings and children's playground in Irpin, Kyiv region, destroyed during Russia's invasion of in Ukraine, in August 2022.

World Council of Churches head Rev. Jerry Pillay has denounced missile strikes on Kyiv and other densely populated areas of Ukraine, that severely damaged two of the country's main hospitals for children and women, including the country's largest pediatric facility.

"It is the latest significant incident in which disregard for international humanitarian law has been evident," said WCC general secretary Pillay, on July 8 on the attacks which killed at least 36 people.

Witnesses expressed shock and revulsion after deadly missile strike on Ukraine's largest pediatric clinic.

Both Pope Francis and the leader of Ukraine's Greek Catholic Church also condemned the targeting the children's hospital in Kyiv, Crux reported.

"The Pope expresses his deep concern over the increase in violence," a statement said, saying, "while expressing his closeness to the innocent victims and wounded, he hopes and prays that concrete paths can soon be identified to put an end to the ongoing conflicts."

"The children sat in stunned silence, their fragile bodies still tethered to medical drips outside the Okhmatdyt children's hospital in central Kyiv, where an impromptu field camp had sprung up," reported The Guardian newspaper.

The children had emerged from the hospital's dark, dusty bomb shelter, and their eyes were still adjusting to the light.

"A woman rushed past, cradling an infant covered with blood," said the report.

An hour earlier, Okhmatdyt, Ukraine's largest paediatric clinic, renowned for its cancer treatment and a place many of the children had called home for months, had been targeted by a powerful Russian missile attack that took its toll and left many injured.

The attack left the hospital's toxicology ward in ruins, wrecked by the explosion that sent shrapnel tearing through the main hospital building, shattering its windows.

One of the surgical rooms, where doctors had been operating on a child, was reduced to rubble.

WCC's Pillay stressed that all those who target civilians and civilian infrastructure do so in violation of the most fundamental principles of law, ethics, morals, and religion.

"In this brutal war resulting from Russia's illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine, civilians are suffering the consequences every day" Pillya said.

He noted that a recent UN report states that from March to May this year alone 436 civilians were killed and 1,760 injured in Russian attacks on Ukraine.

However, he observed that civilians in Russia are also suffering the consequences of this "unconscionable conflict."

"To prevent more bloodshed and destruction, all such violations must stop, and the war must end," said the WCC head.

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