Putin Is ‘Daring NATO’ With Latest Attack, Ex-Ambassador Warns

Russian President Vladimir Putin is “daring NATO” members to respond after launching one of Moscow’s deadliest airstrikes against Kyiv on Monday, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia said.

Moscow launched a barrage of missiles on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities in broad daylight Monday, according to Reuters. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that at least 37 people, including three children, have died from the attack and more than 170 injuries were reported.

Ukraine’s main children’s hospital—Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital—was destroyed in the attacks on Kyiv. Missiles also struck Kryvyi Rih, Dnipro and the Donetsk region in central Ukraine, according to Ukrainian Internal Affairs Minister Igor Klymenko.

Emergency and rescue personnel on Monday are pictured at Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital in Kyiv, Ukraine, following a Russian missile strike. Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador for Russia, said the attack was an example of Russian…

ROMAN PILIPEY/AFP via Getty Images

“In total, nearly 100 facilities were damaged, including a children’s hospital, ordinary houses, kindergartens, a maternity hospital, a college, and a business center,” Zelensky said in a post to X, formerly Twitter. “The rubble is still being cleared at these sites.”

In response to reports of the attacks, Michael McFaul, who served as U.S. ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014, wrote in a post to X that the attacks were an example of Putin “daring NATO,” adding, “I hope the response from the alliance this week will be strong.”

Newsweek reached out to Russia’s Ministry of Defense via email for comment Monday evening.

Tensions between Russia and NATO members have escalated since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Putin has said that the war cannot end until Ukraine takes a neutral position on the military alliance. Ukraine has repeatedly affirmed its plans to join NATO when possible.

Western allies have worked to boost Ukraine’s air defense capabilities in the face of Russia’s continued bombardments throughout the war, which often target key infrastructure in Ukraine, including civilian regions.

Reuters reported that Kyiv’s defense shot down 30 of the 38 missiles that were launched against Ukraine on Monday. The outlet also obtained video of a missile striking Kyiv’s children’s hospital, a weapon later identified by the Security Service of Ukraine as a Kh-101 cruise missile.

Zelensky challenged his Western allies to react to Putin’s attack with continued support for Ukraine, and promised during a joint news conference with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk that Kyiv “will retaliate against these people, we will deliver a powerful response from our side to Russia, for sure.”

“The question to our partners is: Can they respond?” Zelensky added.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas reacted to reports of the children’s hospital destruction on X, writing that it was “a reminder of why we must support Ukraine and why outright Russian war criminals must be held to account.”