Key developments on May 26:
- Governor: Russian missile strike on Dnipro clinic kills 2, injures 31
- Kyiv braces 13th air assault since the beginning of May; no casualties reported
- Zelensky says Ukraine doing best to procure air defense following the latest Dnipro missile strike
- Local authorities: 128 children evacuated from embattled areas in Donetsk Oblast since April
A Russian missile strike hit a medical clinic in Dnipro, killing at least two people and wounding 31, including two kids, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Governor Serhii Lysak reported on May 26.
Of the 31 wounded in the Russian morning attack on a city in central-eastern Ukraine, 16 were hospitalized, according to Lysak. He added that eight of the wounded were medical staff.
A vet clinic nearby was damaged due to the attack, and a man’s body was found under the rubble, the governor said. A 69-year-old man passing by the attack site was also killed.
The two children wounded are boys aged three and six, and their conditions are “moderately severe,” according to the governor’s report. A few of the victims are in serious condition.
Fifty firefighters were involved in a rescue operation to put out the fire, which spread across 1,000 square meters and “partially destroyed” the three-story clinic, Lysak said. He reported the fire at the clinic being extinguished by around 1 p.m. local time, a few hours after the attack, which occurred around 10:30 a.m.
The deadly attack on Dnipro comes as Russian forces have intensified their air strikes on cities far from the battlefield, including Kyiv and Lviv. While the Russian Defense Ministry claims to target military facilities each time, civilian infrastructure often comes under fire.
Overnight on May 26, Russia also launched its 13th air assault on Kyiv this month, the local authorities said, with the debris from targets shot down by the Ukrainian air defense damaging the roof of a mall and a house in the capital’s two districts. Until late April, Kyiv has endured 51 days without any attacks from Russia.
Russian forces have regularly attacked parts of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, an area around Nikopol across the Dnipro River from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, but such large-scale air strikes on the Dnipro city don’t happen as frequently.
The deadliest attack on Dnipro occurred on Jan. 14. A Russian Kh-47 Kinzhal missile slammed into an apartment complex full of people on a Saturday afternoon, resulting in a partial collapse of the building.
Local authorities reported that at least 46 people, including six children, were killed due to the Jan. 14 attack.
Condemning Russia’s May 26 attack, President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed in his evening address that Ukraine was doing "everything possible" to procure more advanced air defense.
Zelensky said that he sees “substantial progress” in Ukraine’s ongoing efforts to convince Western allies to supply Ukraine with modern fighter jets, which will become a "key component" of defending the sky and gaining an advantage over Russia on the battlefield.
"We are moving faster in defense modernization than could have been predicted six months ago," Zelensky said.
The World Health Organization condemned the attack on a medical clinic in Dnipro without naming the party that carried out the attack.
Children in war zone
As fierce battles rage on in Donetsk Oblast, the regional military administration reported that 128 children have been evacuated with their families or legal guardians from settlements in embattled areas since April.
The mandatory evacuations, which began on April 7, covered 21 settlements across Donetsk Oblast, according to the administration.
Eight children, however, remain in areas of heavy fighting, according to the statement. They include four children in Bakhmut, a city Russia effectively captured in May after more than 10 months of heavy fighting, as well as one in Avdiivka, two in Krasnohorivka, and one in Keramik.
Some families either hide their children or "absolutely refuse to leave," the administration said.
Parents’ reluctance to leave war zones, despite having small children, has been an ongoing controversial topic, with activists and volunteers calling for a stricter mandatory evacuation.
No entity – including the police, local authorities, or volunteers – can evacuate children without the permission of the caretakers.