Ukraine-Russia war: Russian forces destroy 7 hospitals, damage 104

Ukrainian base near the Polish border reportedly struck by 30 rockets • China denies Russia requested aid and munitions.

 A medic transports a serviceman on a stretcher following an attack on the Yavoriv military base, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at a hospital in Yavoriv, Ukraine, March 13, 2022. (photo credit: KAI PFAFFENBACH/REUTERS)
A medic transports a serviceman on a stretcher following an attack on the Yavoriv military base, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at a hospital in Yavoriv, Ukraine, March 13, 2022.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Russian troops have destroyed seven hospitals that cannot be rebuilt and damaged 104. Six medical workers have been killed in the shelling so far. According to Health Minister Viktor Lyashko during a telethon.

At the same time, he noted that despite the losses, it is still viable to receive medical care in Ukraine, all remaining health care facilities are working, even if the situation has changed.

"The medical sphere has reorganized and become part of military healthcare. Everything works completely differently. Today, priority is given to the supply of aid to health care facilities that are at the forefront, which receive the wounded, injured, after the collapse of houses with multiple injuries, "Lyashko said.

The spokesperson for China's embassy in Washington responded to media reports on Sunday that Moscow had asked Beijing for military equipment since launching its invasion of Ukraine by saying, "I've never heard of that."

The spokesperson, Liu Pengyu, said China's priority was to prevent the tense situation in Ukraine from getting out of control.

"The current situation in Ukraine is indeed disconcerting," he said in an emailed response to a query from Reuters.

"The high priority now is to prevent the tense situation from escalating or even getting out of control."

Earlier the Financial Times and Washington Post cited US officials as saying that Russia has asked China for military equipment since its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

US National Security advisor Jake Sullivan will be in Rome on Monday to meet with China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi, the White House said earlier.

Russia, which calls its action in Ukraine a "special operation," and China have tightened cooperation as they have come under strong Western pressure over human rights and a raft of other issues.

Beijing has not condemned Russia's attack and does not call it an invasion, but has urged a negotiated solution.

The White House's National Security Council declined to comment.

The Washington Post said the unidentified US officials did not state the kind of weaponry that had been requested or how China had responded.

Airstrikes on the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolayiv killed nine people on Sunday, regional Governor Vitaliy Kim said in an online statement, as explosions were heard in the area of Lviv in western Ukraine for the first time in Russia's ongoing invasion of its neighboring country.

According to the Ukrainian news outlet the New Voice of Ukraine, air raid sirens in Lviv were heard from 3:31 a.m. to 6:33 a.m. local time and residents reported hearing several loud explosions.

Ukraine's Center for International Peacekeeping and Security in Yavoriv, a military training base less than 25 kilometers from the border with Poland, was bombed on Sunday when missiles were fired at it, the Lviv Regional Military Administration said on Facebook.

A total of 30 rockets were fired at the base, according to the Lviv Regional Governor Maksym Kozytskyy.

At least 35 people were killed and were 134 wounded, Kozytskyy said. 

According to a Reuters witness, 19 ambulances with sirens blaring were seen driving from the Ukrainian military base after the airstrikes, with seven more heading towards the base.

One of the missiles was successfully shot down, Ukrainian outlet Channel 24 reported, citing Ukrainian Deputy Interior Minister Vadym Denysenko. 

The base is the biggest in the western part of Ukraine and is traditionally the site of joint drills with NATO.

Foreign military instructors worked at the Yavoriv military base, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said, but it was not clear if any were present at the time.

A ministry representative told Reuters the ministry was still trying to establish if any of the instructors were at the center at the time of the attack.

"Poland condemns any element of aggression against Ukraine, including shelling of the Yavoriv base," Polish foreign ministry spokesman said in a message sent to Reuters.

Russia said on Sunday it had attacked the Yavoriv training facility in western Ukraine, adding the strike had killed "up to 180 foreign mercenaries" and destroyed a large amount of weapons supplied by outside nations.

Defense ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov told a briefing that Russia would continue its attacks against what he called foreign mercenaries.

Reuters could not independently verify the statements.

Other airstrikes

Russian forces reportedly carried out numerous airstrikes throughout Ukraine.

Airstrikes overnight targeted an airport in the city of Ivano-Frankivsk, according to the city's Mayor Ruslan Martsinkov, with explosions being heard throughout the city. 

Writing on Facebook Sunday morning, he urged residents to heed air raid warnings and to move away from areas near the airport. However, he also urged calm and to listen to official sources.

"I remind you that the enemy's goal is to sow panic and fear," he wrote. 

This is the third Russian attack on the Ivano-Frankivsk airport, Matsinkiv said on Facebook, adding that the airport's infrastructure was nearly destroyed.

Three airstrikes also took place in and around Chernihiv, where fighting is ongoing, and current casualties are not yet known. However, according to the State Emergency Services, one person was killed and another injured while seven were rescued, as reported by Interfax.

Ukraine's besieged port city of Mariupol is running out of its last reserves of food and water, the city council said on Sunday, adding that Russian forces blockading the city continued to shell non-military targets.

"People have been in a difficult situation for 12 days. There is no electricity, water or heating in the city. There is almost no mobile communication. The last reserves of food and water are running out," it said in an online statement.

The city council of Ukraine’s besieged port city of Mariupol said in a statement on Sunday that 2,187 city residents had been killed since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

"In (the last) 24 hours, there were at least 22 bombings of the civilian city. Over 100 bombs have been thrown on Mariupol already," it said in an online statement.

This is a developing story.