Throughout the eleven months of conflict in Ukraine, Kiev authorities have on multiple occasions charged that Russian airstrikes have targeted hospitals, clinics, apartment blocks, and other civilian sites. But on Saturday Russia's Defense Ministry said that hospitals in Russian-controlled regions are being targeted by Ukraine's military. What's more is that the Russians say a deadly attack against civilians was carried out using US weaponry.
The ministry said 14 were killed and 24 wounded - most of them "hospital patients and medical staff" when a hospital was struck by rockets in the Luhansk Oblast town of Novoaidar. A statement alleged that on Saturday morning "the Ukrainian armed forces deliberately attacked the building of a district hospital with rockets of a U.S.-made HIMARS multiple launch rocket system."
It further indicated the hospital had been providing "necessary medical assistance to the local population and military personnel for many months" - while calling the crime "deliberate".
"A deliberate missile strike on a known active civilian medical facility is, without doubt, a grave war crime by the Kiev regime," the ministry said, according to the AFP. The statement further noted that "All the victims are being provided with professional medical aid."
Defense officials are now using language that echoes the Ukrainian side and Western side, vowing that the 'war crime' would be investigated and that everyone that planned and implemented the strikes would be "brought to justice." If Ukraine acknowledges the attack, it will likely focus on calling the hospital a 'military target' - given the location also treated Russian soldiers.
Meanwhile, on the other side, EU efforts to establish a special Russian war crimes tribunal moved forward this week. "The European Union's assembly called on the member states on Thursday to back the creation of a special court to judge any war crime of aggression by Russia in Ukraine," AP reported.
WATCH: #BNNUkraine Reports Footage shows the aftermath of a Ukrainian Army strike on a hospital in #Novoaidar #Luhansk, according to Russian Defense sources. The hospital appears to have been completely destroyed in the footage. pic.twitter.com/SjtXwbnwbw
-- Gurbaksh Singh Chahal (@gchahal) January 28, 2023
"The nonbinding resolution was approved by a 472-19 vote with 33 abstentions in the European Parliament, and underscored the EU's willingness to make sure Moscow should be brought to justice for Russia's invasion of Ukraine," AP detailed.
Currently, Russia is escalating attacks in an around the strategic Donetsk region city of Bakhmut, with international and Western reports acknowledging that Russian forces have the battlefield momentum and upper hand at this point.
Western sources are now advising Kyiv to strategically withdraw | @lucaswebber009 https://t.co/XHy9FHJBPw
-- UnHerd (@unherd) January 28, 2023
reports Saturday that "Inside Bakhmut, gunshots echoed from the east side of the river that bisects the city. Waves of Russian troops were pushing in from the east, and two pontoon bridges across the river hit this week were passable only by foot, Ukrainian soldiers said."
"Ukrainians said they were fighting for each block, but were outnumbered and outgunned, and the Russians were slowly taking territory in the city," the report adds. Some war monitors have said the Russians have the city almost encircled at this critical juncture.