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 As Russian missiles struck a children’s hospital in Kyiv on Monday morning, the founder of a Malta-based aid organisation was out jogging, a short distance away. 

“We were out in the park exercising when the air raid siren signalled an incoming attack,” Chris Catrambone said. 

“After a few minutes, we could hear the Patriot battery launching missiles to intercept the Russian missiles. And then you could see three or four exploding in mid-air.”

More than 30 people were killed in the attack, with the number of dead set to rise.

Speaking to Times of Malta from Ukraine’s capital city just a few hours after the strike, Catrambone described the attack as “one of the deadliest and one of the loudest for quite a while.”

Chris Catrambone describes the attack on Kyiv this morning. Video: Mario Xuereb

The Patriot is a surface-to-air missile system designed by the US military to intercept enemy missiles and which has been made available to Ukraine as it seeks to repel Russia’s invasion. 

Some missiles made it through the city’s air defences though, sending people into a panic as they ran for their lives to seek shelter.  

Among the buildings hit was the Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital, right in the city centre.

Catrambone said that the attack serves as a stark reminder of the dangers that the people of Kyiv still face even though Russia’s missiles have not been able to reach the city for quite a while.

“The city has been under attack for almost two and a half years.  But this was probably the biggest of the year. It was a very heavy, targeted attack.”

Emergency workers clear the rubble of the destroyed building of Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital following a Russian missile attack in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. Photo: AFPEmergency workers clear the rubble of the destroyed building of Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital following a Russian missile attack in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. Photo: AFP

Catrambone and the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), the non-governmental organisation he leads, have been in Kyiv since right before the start of the full-scale invasion in February 2022.  

“People here are very resilient, they move on with their lives despite the war happening.  Kyiv is not the front line, but this brings back all the fear and the concern for families and civilians, and shows that this war is at the gates again.”

In Ukraine, MOAS runs an operation with 150 staff and over 50 ambulances. It is very active on the frontline, aiding injured soldiers and civilians.  

Catrambone says he intends to stay in Kyiv until the end of the war. 

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