Keir Starmer urged to respond ahead of NATO summit as Putin rains hell on Ukraine

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jul9,2024

Sir Keir Starmer

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has condemned the shocking hospital attack. (Image: GETTY)

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer, who is due to fly to Washington for today’s crunch NATO summit, has been urged to lobby other world leaders to provide Ukraine with air defence systems to defend against further Russian missile salvos.

Inna Sovsun is a Ukrainian MP who as a resident of Kyiv has visited the children’s hospital which was struck by one projectile, with fatal results.

And, suggesting Vladimir Putin was purposely targeting civilians, she urged the UK’s recently elected leader to do his best to prevent similar tragedies.

Rescue operations stretched into a second day at the Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said today, adding that 38 people were killed and almost 200 injured in an intense daytime barrage of cities across the country.

Posting on X, Mr Zelensky said 64 people were hospitalised in the capital as well as 28 in Kryvyi Rih and six in Dnipro – both in central Ukraine.

Ukraine hospital

A child is carried away after the attack on the children’s hospital in Kyiv yesterday. (Image: PA)

Kyiv city administrators declared Tuesday an official day of mourning. Entertainment events were prohibited and flags were lowered in the capital.

The 39-year-old former Ukrainian deputy Minister of Education and Science, was actually in the western city of Lviv when the capital was attacked, along with other cities – but said it had nevertheless left her deeply shocked.

She said: “That was a very long-term project to build that hospital. That’s a specific building and that was the newest and the best equipped Children’s Hospital in the whole country.

“And I have visited it once with my son because we had to go to the accident and emergency unit there as well. And it was it was really in very good condition. It was a very new hospital, they had all the new equipment.”

Ms Sovsun emphasised: “A children’s hospital for God’s sake. They can’t claim that this is a military hospital.

Smoke rises over Kyiv after the missile strikes.

Smoke rises over Kyiv after the missile strikes. (Image: PA)

“I’ve seen them saying that they only target military infrastructure. So either they are very bad at targeting or they knew they were targeting medical facilities and residential buildings.”

In advance of Sir Keir’s trip to the US for the event, which will explore ways of providing further assistance to Ukraine more than two years after the start of the war, she continued: “If Western Ukraine were covered with the air defence from Poland, from Romania, whatever, we could have relocated more air defence systems

“I think one of the practical solutions that should come out of this terrifying attack is that we urgently need air defence, otherwise people will just leave the country and then there will be no way to fight the war.

“I think the UK has typically been the greatest supporter of Ukraine and it has been the greatest in terms of being the first to say things which nobody wants to say.

“So I really want Sir Keir to advocate for that policy. The problem yesterday was that there were just too many missiles at the same time. We just didn’t have the capacity to take them down at the same time.”

Posting in advance of the three-day summit, Sir Keir, who meets US President Joe Biden tomorrow, shared a grim video of the aftermath of the hospital attack, featuring blood-spattered floors.

He commented: “Attacking innocent children. The most depraved of actions. We stand with Ukraine against Russian aggression – our support won’t falter.”

Samuel Cranny-Evans, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, told “It was certainly was a shock to see so many strikes in Kyiv proper. Everyone I know there is very shaken up.

“From what I can tell, they seem to have targeted some energy infrastructure, which is consistent with previous strikes. The novel aspect is in the daylight strikes, they usually wait for night, and of course the damage to the children’s hospital.”

The attacks were possibly in retaliation for recent Ukrainian strikes on Russia, “or an attempt to show that Russia still has the ability to strike Ukraine where it hurts during the NATO summit”, he suggested.

Mr Cranny Evans added: “This type of thing can happen because Ukraine is running low on air defence missiles.

“There are also some reports that they hit a Ukrainian defence manufacturer, which is again consistent with their previous strike patterns.”

Referring to Russia’s use of hypersonic weapons, he added: “The Kinzhals have been used a lot, and typically in mixed salvos that approach from two or more directions. The speed of the missiles combined with the different types of threat all in the sky at the same time makes effective interception very difficult.”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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