Accusations of war crimes against Moscow are growing louder as the civilian death toll rises.
The latest outcry comes over an alleged Russian airstrike on a hospital in the already besieged city of Mariupol. Ukrainian officials claim at least three people were killed, including a 6-year-old child, as a result of the strike on a maternity ward. Russia claims the bombing was staged.
News of the deaths rolled in just as the highest-level diplomatic discussions to date took place. The meeting was reportedly brief and produced no results toward a resolution to the fighting.
Ukrainian officials said they would continue their attempts to evacuate civilians along safe routes agreed to by Russia, though Russian forces have repeatedly broken the cease-fire. No civilians were able to evacuate the port city of Mariupol nor were supplies and aid able to enter.
“The most difficult situation is in Volnovakha and Mariupol,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Thursday. “It is not possible to organize humanitarian corridors from there. These cities are a real humanitarian catastrophe.”
There are roughly 400,000 people in the city who have been without heat, electricity, or water for at least a week of freezing temperatures.
US Vice President Kamala Harris joined calls for an international inquiry into Russia’s conduct during a speech in Poland.