Ukrainian clinics hit in deadly Russian missile strike
In Russia, Dmitry Medvedev says Kremlin unlikely to negotiate with current Ukrainian leadership
A Russian missile hit a clinic in the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro on Friday, killing at least two people and wounding 30 in an attack Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described as a crime against humanity.
Video footage showed a devastated building with smoke pouring out of it. Much of the upper floor of what appeared to be a three-storey building had been badly damaged, as had cars parked nearby. A covered corpse lay in the road nearby.
He said 30 people had been wounded, including two children, and contact had not yet been made with three people thought to have been in the building when it was hit. Earlier the governor had said over 20 had been taken to hospital, with three seriously hurt.
"Another missile attack, another crime against humanity," Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter, describing the damage to a psychology clinic and a veterinary clinic in Dnipro.
"Only an evil state can fight against clinics. There can be no military purpose in this. It is pure Russian terror."
WATCH l Scenes from the destruction in Dnipro:
The Ukrainian Defence Ministry called it a serious war crime under the Geneva Conventions, which set out how soldiers and civilians should be treated in war.
Russia's Defence Ministry said it had carried out an overnight strike on Ukrainian ammunition depots.
"The target of the strike has been achieved. All designated facilities were hit," the RIA news agency quoted the ministry as saying.
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Moscow has dismissed allegations that its soldiers have committed war crimes and denies deliberately targeting civilians, although it has bombarded cities across Ukraine since invading 15 months ago.
Ukrainian officials said earlier on Friday that air defences had shot down 10 missiles and more than 20 drones launched by Russia in overnight attacks on the capital Kyiv, Dnipro and eastern regions.
Zelenskyy's office said a fire had broken out on the outskirts of the northeastern city of Kharkiv after an oil depot was hit twice, and that equipment for pumping oil products had been damaged.
Also, a Russian S-300 missile hit a dam in the Karlivka district of Ukraine's eastern Donetsk province, placing nearby settlements under threat of severe flooding.
Conflict could last 'decades': Medvedev
Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president who is now the Kremlin's security council deputy chairman, said Friday negotiations to end the war were impossible as long as Ukraine's Western-backed Zelenskyy was in power.
"This conflict will last for a very long time. For decades, probably. This is a new reality," Medvedev was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.
He said Russia could not trust any truce with the current rulers of Kyiv as the conflict would simply erupt again and so the very nature of the current government of Ukraine would have to be destroyed.
Negotiations, Medvedev said, with "the clown Zelenskyy" were impossible.
"Everything always ends in negotiations, and this is inevitable, but as long as these people are in power, the situation for Russia will not change in terms of negotiations."
Hundreds of thousands of people have died and many more have been seriously injured in the conflict, whose roots date to 2014 after a pro-Russian president was toppled in Ukraine's Maidan popular uprising, Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula and Russian-backed separatists seized swaths of eastern Ukraine.
Russia to store nukes in Belarus
Medvedev also warned that the West was seriously underestimating the risk of a nuclear war over Ukraine, cautioning that Russia would launch a pre-emptive strike if Ukraine gets nuclear weapons.
Russia, which has the world's largest nuclear arsenal, has repeatedly accused the West of waging a proxy war with Russia over Ukraine that could mushroom into a much bigger conflict.
"There are irreversible laws of war. If it comes to nuclear weapons, there will have to be a pre-emptive strike," Medvedev said.
"The Anglo-Saxons do not fully realize this and believe that it will not come to this," he went on. "It will under certain conditions."
The West says it wants to help Ukraine win its conflict with Russia, and Western powers have supplied large amounts of modern arms and ammunition to Kyiv. But U.S. President Joe Biden has cautioned that a direct confrontation between the U.S.-backed NATO alliance and Russia would result in a world war.
Russia says Washington would never allow it to arm a country bordering the United States, and the Kremlin says the West is already essentially fighting an undeclared war with Russia.
On Thursday, Russia moved ahead on its plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in its neighbour and close ally Belarus, signing a deal about the storage of the warheads.
"The movement of the nuclear weapons has already begun," Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko told reporters in Moscow, where he was attending talks with other leaders of ex-Soviet states.
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The U.S. State Department denounced the deployment plan, but said Washington had no intention of altering its position on strategic nuclear weapons nor had it seen any signs Russia was preparing to use a nuclear weapon.
"It's the latest example of irresponsible behaviour that we have seen from Russia," U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said.
It would be the Kremlin's first deployment of such bombs outside Russia since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.
With files from The Associated Press