KYIV, Ukraine — A Russian air strike on Wednesday hit a paediatric and maternity hospital in the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, injuring at least 17 staff, officials said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted a video on Twitter showing massive destruction at the large medical complex, including blown-out windows and internal walls ripped out, which he said was caused by a “direct strike by Russian troops”.

He said that adults and children were “under the wreckage”.

“So far there are 17 wounded personnel of the hospital,” Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the southeastern Donetsk region, said in a video posted on Facebook. “So far no kids were wounded” and there have been “no deaths”, he added.

The attack came as women were in labour in the recently refurbished hospital, Donetsk regional military administration told AFP.

The attack came as the World Health Organization warned the war with Russia has sparked a health crisis in Ukraine, with at least 18 verified attacks on health care facilities, ambulances and personnel, resulting in 10 deaths and 16 injuries.

The attack “literally destroyed” the maternity hospital in the centre of the city, which also included a paediatric unit, Kyrylenko said.

Videos posted by the regional chief and the city authorities showed the evacuation of the hospital including one woman on a stretcher and another being supported by two men as she walks out.

They also showed a huge crater in the yard of the hospital, branches snapped from trees and burning cars, while cladding was ripped from the building’s facade.

Kyrylenko commented that a Russian pilot evidently knew where the bomb would land.

Zelensky condemned the attack as an “atrocity” and called again for a no-fly zone to be imposed over the country. NATO has refused to do this.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also condemned the attack, saying: “There are few things more depraved than targeting the vulnerable and defenceless.” Presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich told Ukrainian television “the strike on the maternity hospital in Mariupol was “just for starters”, warning “a completely different war is about to start”.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova did not deny the attack in comments at a Moscow briefing.

She said Ukrainian “nationalist battalions” were using the maternity hospital to set up firing positions after moving out staff and patients.

Mariupol on the Azov Sea in southeastern Ukraine is surrounded by Russian forces, who have bombarded the city despite promises of a ceasefire to allow civilians to be evacuated.

Residents have been cut off from electricity, water and gas. Communications are disrupted and attempts to deliver food and medicine have failed.

Ukrainian ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova wrote on Telegram that Mariupol faces a humanitarian crisis.

“The Russian military has been shelling Mariupol with heavy artillery since early morning today,” she said, adding that the planned evacuation route to Zaporizhzhia in the northwest had not been demined.