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Russia cannot justify strike on Okhmatdyt hospital, it is war crime - ISW

Russia cannot justify strike on Okhmatdyt hospital, it is war crime - ISW Russians are attempting to justify the missile strike on the Okhmatdyt hospital in Kyiv (photo: Vitalii Nosach/RBC-Ukraine)

Russian forces have launched a massive information campaign to justify the rocket strike on the Okhmatdyt hospital in Kyiv. However, this will not help them evade responsibility for war crimes, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

According to the report from ISW, Russian informational operations falsely portray the Okhmatdyt children's hospital as either partially or fully a military facility and incorrectly assume it to be a legitimate military target. In reality, Okhmatdyt is Ukraine's largest multi-profile children's hospital, serving up to 18,000 children annually.

ISW reminded that Russia is a signatory to the Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Article 19 of the Convention specifies that the international legal protection of civilian hospitals does not cease unless the facility engages in acts harmful to the enemy. Furthermore, the article explicitly excludes the presence of sick or wounded military personnel as an action harmful to the enemy.

"Article 19 also states that the "enemy" must give a warning prior to attacking a hospital allegedly containing a harmful military target, and no Russian sources are claiming that Russian authorities issued such a warning, nor have any offered proof that a hospital full of sick children was posing an imminent threat to Russian forces," the report states.

Meanwhile, the statement from the Russian Ministry of Defense claiming that Ukrainian air defense allegedly struck civilian objects, as well as assertions from a Russian military blogger that a Russian missile accidentally hit the hospital, also does not absolve the Russian military from responsibility for these consequences.

ISW emphasized that Russia is the aggressor state in this conflict. Had the Kremlin not initiated a full-scale invasion and regular rocket strikes on Ukraine, the Ukrainian Defense Forces would not have had to defend against Russian rockets.

In summary, the report underscores that many of the aforementioned false Russian informational operations do not exempt Russian forces from legal or moral responsibility for the consequences of their strikes on Ukraine.

Russia's missile strike on Kyiv on July 8

During the massive shelling of Kyiv by Russians on Monday, July 8, a Russian missile destroyed one of the buildings of the Okhmatdyt children's hospital.

As a result of the attack, 27 people were killed, including three children, and another 82 people were injured.

For detailed information on the consequences of the Russian Federation's shelling, read the article by RBC-Ukraine.