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Good morning, this is Michelle. The UN weighs in on who’s responsible for the attack on a children’s hospital in Kyiv.

A UN-brokered prisoner swap in Yemen spells hope for an imprisoned political leader, but no progress for aid staff detained since last month. And UN experts declare famine has taken hold of Gaza.

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Michelle Langrand


Straight from the Palais

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People remove the rubble at the Ohmatdyt National Specialized Children's Hospital attacked by Russia's Kh-101 strategic cruise missile. (Keystone/Avalon/Kaniuka Ruslan / Avalon)

🏥 DIRECT HIT. Kyiv’s main children's hospital was most likely directly hit by Russia, according to the United Nations. Danielle Bell, head of mission for the UN’s human rights mission in Ukraine, told Geneva reporters that after visiting the site and reviewing video footage, her team had concluded a “high likelihood that the children's hospital suffered a direct hit rather than receiving damages due to an intercepted weapon system”. That contradicts Moscow’s version, which claims that Ukraine’s anti-missile system is to blame for the blast.

The airstrike is part of a wave of Russian attacks on Monday across Ukrainian cities that have so far resulted in the death of 49 people. Some 670 child patients and over 1,000 medical staff were in Okhmatdyt, the children’s hospital, at the time of the incident. At least two children and one female doctor while 50 more were injured, said Bell, noting that had the staff not moved the children to the bunker before the strike, more lives would’ve been lost.

“The explosion destroyed the toxicology department where children were receiving dialysis only minutes before the missile impacted,” she said.

‘Abominable’. That’s how the UN human rights chief Volker Türk described the attack on Okhmatdyt and a maternity centre in Kyiv. He called for those with influence to do everything they could to get the attacks to stop.

⛓️PRISONER SWAP. A shred of good news has emerged from negotiations between Yemeni warring parties, the UN’s spokesperson in Geneva, Allesandra Velluci, said on Tuesday. The country’s Houthi rebels have agreed to release a political leader with ties to the Saudi Arabia-backed government and kidnapped almost a decade ago, under a preliminary prisoner swap deal brokered by the UN.

In the crossfire. And yet, there is still no update on several international workers seized by the Houthi group across several days in June in different parts of the war-torn country, in what appeared to be an increasing and coordinated crackdown. “We remain extremely worried about the well-being of 13 UN staff and a number of NGO employees who have been detained for over a month now by the ‘Ansar Allah’ de facto authorities in Yemen,” a spokesperson for the UN Human Rights office, Jeremy Laurence, told journalists in Geneva. He said the UN continues to be denied access to the detainees and their whereabouts are unknown.

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