In Diplomatic Quirk, Russia Chairs UN Meeting Decrying Its Strike on Ukraine Kids’ Hospital

 09 July 2024, US, New York: Ukraine's ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya speaks while holding a photo of remnants of the missile X-1 which hit children's hospital in Kyiv during an emergency Security Council meeting at the United Nations Headquarters. (Lev Radin/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)
09 July 2024, US, New York: Ukraine's ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya speaks while holding a photo of remnants of the missile X-1 which hit children's hospital in Kyiv during an emergency Security Council meeting at the United Nations Headquarters. (Lev Radin/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)
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In Diplomatic Quirk, Russia Chairs UN Meeting Decrying Its Strike on Ukraine Kids’ Hospital

 09 July 2024, US, New York: Ukraine's ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya speaks while holding a photo of remnants of the missile X-1 which hit children's hospital in Kyiv during an emergency Security Council meeting at the United Nations Headquarters. (Lev Radin/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)
09 July 2024, US, New York: Ukraine's ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya speaks while holding a photo of remnants of the missile X-1 which hit children's hospital in Kyiv during an emergency Security Council meeting at the United Nations Headquarters. (Lev Radin/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)

UN Security Council members confronted Russia on Tuesday over a missile strike the previous day that destroyed part of Ukraine's largest children's hospital, pouring out condemnations at an emergency meeting chaired by Moscow's own ambassador.

Russia denies responsibility for the strike at the hospital, where at least two staffers were killed.

France and Ecuador asked for the session at the Security Council, but Russia led it as the current holder of the council's rotating presidency, putting Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia on the receiving end of the criticism.

"Mr. President, please stop this war. It has been going on for too long," Slovenian Ambassador Samuel Zbogar appealed.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told colleagues that they were there "because Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, current rotational president of the Security Council, attacked a children’s hospital."

"Even uttering that phrase sends a chill down my spine," she added.

Nebenzia characterized the slew of criticism as "verbal gymnastics" from countries trying to protect Ukraine's government. He reiterated Moscow's denials of responsibility for the hospital attack, insisting it was hit by a Ukrainian air defense rocket.

"If this had been a Russian strike, there would have been nothing left of the building," Nebenzia said, adding that "all the children and most of the adults would have been killed, and not wounded."

The strike on the Okhmatdyt children’s hospital was part of a massive daytime barrage in multiple cities, including the capital of Kyiv. Officials said at least 42 people were killed. The attack also damaged Ukraine's main specialist hospital for women and hit key energy infrastructure.

At Okhmatdyt, "the ground shook and the walls trembled. Both children and adults screamed and cried from fear, and the wounded from pain," cardiac surgeon and anesthesiologist Dr. Volodymyr Zhovnir told the Security Council by video from Kyiv. "It was a real hell."

Later, he heard people crying out for help from beneath the rubble. Most of the over 600 young patients had been moved to bomb shelters, except those in surgery, Zhovnir said. He said over 300 people were injured, including eight children, and two adults died, one of them a young doctor.

Acting UN humanitarian chief Joyce Msuya stressed to the Security Council that intentionally attacking a hospital is a war crime. She called Monday’s strikes "part of a deeply concerning pattern of systematic attacks harming health care and other civilian infrastructure across Ukraine."

Since Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, the UN World Health Organization has verified 1,878 attacks affecting health care facilities, personnel, transport, supplies and patients, she said.

Even against that backdrop, several council members pronounced Monday's strike shocking.

British Ambassador Barbara Woodward called it "cowardly depravity." Ecuadorian envoy José De La Gasca described it as "particularly intolerable." To Slovenia's Zbogar, it was "another low in this war of aggression."

Woodward and some others reiterated longstanding calls for Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine. But some nations with closer ties to Moscow continued to send a more muted message.

Chinese deputy Ambassador Geng Shuang, expressed concern about the loss of civilian lives and infrastructure but urged both sides to exercise "rationality and restraint" and "show political will, meet each other halfway and start peace talks."

Russia insists that it doesn’t attack civilian targets in Ukraine despite abundant evidence to the contrary, including in AP's reporting.

Earlier Tuesday in Geneva, Danielle Bell, who heads a UN team monitoring human rights in Ukraine, said the hospital likely was struck by a Russian Kh-101 cruise missile.

At the UN headquarters, Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya showed the Security Council photos of what his country asserts were fragments showing the projectile's Russian origin, plus a map purportedly showing a missile's path from Russian territory and, via a sharp turn, to the children's hospital.

"Yesterday, Russia deliberately targeted perhaps the most vulnerable and defenseless group in any society: children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses," Kyslytsya said.

Kyslytsya, whose country isn’t on the 15-member council, blasted Nebenzia for occupying the president's seat after the bloodshed.

"In accordance with the traditions of the council presidency, and purely as the president of the council," Nebenzia drily replied, "I am compelled to thank Ukraine for their statement."



Bangladesh Extends Curfew ahead of Court Hearing on Controversial Job Quotas

18 July 2024, Bangladesh, Dhaka: People and police clash during a protest against the government's job quota system. Photo: Rubel Karmaker/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa
18 July 2024, Bangladesh, Dhaka: People and police clash during a protest against the government's job quota system. Photo: Rubel Karmaker/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa
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Bangladesh Extends Curfew ahead of Court Hearing on Controversial Job Quotas

18 July 2024, Bangladesh, Dhaka: People and police clash during a protest against the government's job quota system. Photo: Rubel Karmaker/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa
18 July 2024, Bangladesh, Dhaka: People and police clash during a protest against the government's job quota system. Photo: Rubel Karmaker/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

Bangladesh extended a curfew on Sunday to control violent student-led protests that have killed at least 114 people, as authorities braced for a Supreme Court hearing later in the day on government job quotas that sparked the anger.
Soldiers have been on patrol on the streets of capital Dhaka, the center of the demonstrations that spiraled into clashes between protesters and security forces, Reuters said.
Internet and text message services in Bangladesh have been suspended since Thursday, cutting the nation off as police cracked down on protesters who defied a ban on public gatherings.
A curfew ordered late on Friday has been extended to 3 p.m. (0900 GMT) on Sunday, until after the Supreme Court hearing, and will continue for an "uncertain time" following a two-hour break for people to gather supplies, local media reported.
Universities and colleges have also been closed since Wednesday.
Nationwide unrest broke out following student anger against quotas for government jobs that included reserving 30% for the families of those who fought for independence from Pakistan.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government had scrapped the quota system in 2018, but a court reinstated it last month.
The Supreme Court suspended the decision after a government appeal and will hear the case on Sunday after agreeing to bring forward a hearing scheduled for Aug. 7.
The demonstrations - the biggest since Hasina was re-elected for a fourth successive term this year - have also been fueled by high unemployment among young people, who make up nearly a fifth of the population.
The US State Department on Saturday raised its travel advisory for Bangladesh to level four, urging American citizens to not travel to the South Asian country.