Australia news LIVE: Ukraine condemns Russian airstrike on maternity hospital; NSW floods declared a national emergency

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  • Ukrainian president condemns Russian airstrike on maternity hospital
  • Boost in ADF troops under planned $38 billion expansion
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Ukrainian president condemns Russian airstrike on maternity hospital

A Russian airstrike hit a children’s hospital and maternity ward in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol overnight with children among those trapped under the rubble.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has labelled the attack an “atrocity”.

Ukrainian emergency employees at the maternity hospital in Mariupol.Credit:AP

“Kids are under the ruins. This is [an] atrocity. How much more will the world be complicit, ignoring terror?” he said.

“Close the sky immediately. Stop the killing immediately.”

The attack comes amid hopes for mass-evacuations of civilians from several besieged Ukrainian cities, including Mariupol, which have been without food, water and power for days.

The city has also started burying bodies in a mass grave because its morgues are full.

In the two weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine, two million people have fled the country – nearly half of them children.

AP

Boost in ADF troops under planned $38 billion expansion

Australia’s army, air force and navy is set to swell by a third to operate “cutting-edge capabilities” the country will obtain in the future, including the planned nuclear submarine fleet.

The federal government is promising to take the total number of soldiers, sailors and airmen and women from about 60,000 to 80,000 by 2040. The boost is estimated to cost at least $38 billion from 2024 to 2040.

The federal government has committed to growing the uniformed Defence workforce to 80,000 by 2040.Credit:ADF

“Our world is becoming increasingly uncertain so it’s important we take steps now to protect our people and our national interest over the coming decades,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

The proposed new workforce will come from all states and territories, but the majority of new jobs are expected to be in Queensland, NSW, South Australia and Western Australia.

Read the full story here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Thursday, March 10. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day. Erin Pearson is watching all things Ukraine.

Here’s what you need to know before we get started.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has condemned a Russian airstrike on a maternity hospital in the port city of Mariupol overnight. He has labelled the attack an atrocity and says children remain trapped under the rubble. Zelensky has reiterated his calls for NATO to enforce the closure of Ukraine’s airspace immediately. “How much more will the world be complicit?” he asked. Yesterday, the Pentagon indicated that NATO would not accept Poland’s offer of Soviet-era warplanes (which Ukrainians will have been trained to operate), arguing it could trigger a wider war with Russia. The Kremlin has suggested a closure of Ukraine’s airspace would amount to another world war.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.Credit:AP

  • Sydney is expected to wake up without rain today. However, emergency services are urging residents to remain on alert as some floodwaters may still rise. Meanwhile, Hawkesbury residents have started returning to their properties to inspect damage and the cleanup in northern parts of NSW and south-east Queensland continues. Yesterday, the federal government announced that flood victims will be given immediate tax relief and up to $3000 in emergency payments. Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is due to tour flood affected communities later today.

Locals navigate floodwaters along the Hawkesbury River.Credit:Dean Sewell

  • And speaking of federal politics, the Morrison government wants to grow Australia’s defence force ranks from about 60,000 personnel to 80,000 by 2040. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says we are living in an increasingly uncertain world and it’s important to take steps now to future-proof Australia’s national interests. The expansion is expected to cost at least $38 billion.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Lismore yesterday.Credit:Janie Barrett

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