Outrage Over Russian Hospital Attack Grows As Ukraine Cease-Fire Talks Make No Progress

Global outrage over a Russian attack on a maternity hospital in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol has mounted as top diplomats from Moscow and Kyiv failed to make progress on a possible cease-fire or even humanitarian corridors for civilians.

With Russia's invasion now in its 15th day, Ukrainian officials have struggled not only to thwart Russian advances, but also to evacuate people from besieged cities like Mariupol or Kharkiv in the northeast.

The Red Cross has said more than 400,000 people are trapped in Mariupol without humanitarian aid and evacuation corridors, and the city faces "apocalyptic" conditions.

A key port city on the coast of the Sea of Azov, Mariupol is major transit point on the road to Crimea, and analysts have speculated that Russian might seek to seize the city as part of a "land bridge" to the occupied Crimea Peninsula.

On March 9, an apparent Russian strike -- either artillery or air strike -- on a maternity hospital devastated the building and killed at least three people, including a child.


President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has accused Russia of a war crime. The White House called it a "barbaric" use of force against civilians, while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called it "depraved."

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Turkey on March 10. But the talks failed to produce a breakthrough.

RFE/RL's Live Briefing gives you all of the major developments on Russia's invasion, how Kyiv is fighting back, the plight of civilians, and Western reaction. For all of RFE/RL's coverage of the war, click here.

Kuleba told reporters that Lavrov would not commit to a halt in the war so aid could reach hundreds of thousands of civilians. "We are ready for diplomacy, we are looking for diplomatic solutions, but while they do not exist, we will selflessly defend our land, our people from Russian aggression," he added.

For his part, Lavrov showed no sign of making any concessions, repeating to reporters that he put forward at the meeting Russian demands that Ukraine be disarmed and accept neutral status.

The Mariupol city council reported more Russian shelling on March 10. The council also said that 1,200 residents had been killed during the Russian siege.

The Kremlin said it would investigate the attack on the hospital, but Lavrov claimed, without providing evidence, that the medical facility had also been serving as a base for a far-right nationalist military unit.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych accused Russia of deliberately preventing the evacuation of civilians from Mariupol.

The Mariupol attack was not the only one targeting a medical facility; in Zhytomyr, a city of 260,000 some 150 kilometers west of Kyiv, bombs fell on two hospitals, one of them for children, Mayor Serhiy Sukhomlyn said on Facebook. He said there were no injuries.

Around the capital, Kyiv, Russian forces captured several suburbs and were trying to take Chernihiv in the north, a top Ukrainian general said. Russian forces were also advancing on the cities of Mykolayiv, Kryviy Rih, Voznesensk, and Novovorontsovka.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said about 2 million people have left the city and its environs.

The World Health Organization says it has documented 18 attacks on medical facilities since the start of its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians are trying to leave areas under Russian bombardment. Civilians resumed leaving the city of Sumy, east of Kyiv, for a third day through a "humanitarian corridor" following an agreement on a local cease-fire, the regional governor said.

Several thousand people have left Sumy this week, and people were also reportedly leaving the nearby settlements of Krasnopillya and Trostyanets, Governor Dmytro Zhyvytskiy said.

The number of people who have fled Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion continues to grow, with the head of the UN's refugee agency, the UNHCR, estimating on March 10 that the figure had now reached somewhere more than 2.3 million people.

Most of them crossed into neighboring Poland, where the border guard service said some 1.43 million Ukrainians arrived as of March 10.

Meanwhile, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris accused Russia of committing "atrocities of unimaginable proportions" in Ukraine, as she traveled to Warsaw amid controversy over a Polish plan to supply fighter jets to Ukraine.

Harris's trip, aimed at bolstering U.S. support for its Eastern European allies, has been overshadowed by an open disagreement between Warsaw and Washington over the Polish proposal, which called for sending MiG warplanes to Ukraine, by way of a U.S. military base in Germany.


The number of people to have fled Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion continues to grow, with the head of the UN refugee agency estimating the figure has now reached near 2.2 million people.

Most of them crossed into neighboring Poland, where the border guard service said some 1.43 million Ukrainians arrived as of March 10.

Zelenskiy's chief economic adviser said Russia's attack on Ukraine had inflicted more than $100 billion worth of damage, taking into account infrastructure, buildings, and other physical assets.

Oleh Ustenko told an online conference run by the Peterson Institute for International Economics on March 10 that about half of Ukrainian businesses had shut down because of the conflict, with the remainder operating far below full capacity, and called for maximum financial sanctions and a complete, worldwide embargo on oil, gas, and other energy products from Russia.

Russian forces have met stiff resistance from Ukrainian troops, pushing Moscow to inflict heavy damage on cities, including residential and civilian targets, through air attacks and relentless shelling.

Ustenko said that given the scale of the fighting, Ukraine's financial system had actual held up "OK," with ATMs in areas of the country that aren't occupied by Russian troops still working.

He said the country's foreign-currency reserves were down only about $2.5 billion to $27.5 billion, but that Ukraine's immediate need for economic and military help remained paramount.

The European Union continued to tighten sanctions on those "implicated in the Russian aggression in Ukraine," agreeing on new measures targeting another 14 oligarchs, 146 members of Russia's upper house of parliament, and their families.

The 27-member bloc is due to hold a summit in Versailles, France, on March 10 to discuss the Ukrainian invasion and the energy crisis in triggered in Europe.