Russian rocket hits maternity ward, kills newborn baby, Ukraine says
A Russian rocket hit the maternity ward of a hospital in southern Ukraine overnight, killing a newborn baby and injuring its mother, Ukrainian authorities said on Wednesday, describing an episode that has further fueled national outrage. in the face of Russian attacks on civilians during the nine-month war.
Rescuers pulled the boy’s mother and a doctor from the wreckage of a two-storey building in the city of Vilnyansk, Zaporizhzhia region, according to Ukraine’s state emergency service, which released video footage of recovery efforts.
“Grief fills our hearts,” said Oleksandr Starukh, the head of the regional administration, on the Telegram messaging app.
Photographs released by Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, showed rescue workers approaching a two-story building at night. Its windows had been blown out and pieces of masonry and planks were sticking out of holes.
A video posted on Twitter by the Ukrainian army high command showed rescuers digging with their hands to retrieve a man buried from the waist down in the rubble. A lifeguard was giving water to the man, who appeared to be wearing green scrubs. The New York Times has confirmed the authenticity of the photographs and video.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky responded to the attack by writing on Telegram that: “The enemy has once again decided to try to achieve by terror and murder what he could not achieve for 9 months and will not be able to achieve. Instead, he will only be held accountable for all the harm he has brought to our country.
Ukrainian authorities said an S-300 missile hit the building. Moscow has intensified its attacks on civilian targets and energy infrastructure across the country in recent weeks as it suffered a series of battlefield casualties. But Zaporizhzhia, which is on the front line, has been battered for months.
Attacks on maternity wards and hospitals have crystallized disgust in Ukraine at the Russian invasion. In March, at least 17 people were injured when Russian forces hit a hospital and a maternity ward near the start of a siege that devastated the southern city of Mariupol. In total, more than 600 health facilities across Ukraine have been affected by attacks, according to data of the World Health Organization.
At least 437 children are among more than 8,300 civilians who have been killed in Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion in February, the country’s attorney general, Andriy Kostin, said on Saturday. He said more than 11,000 civilians had been injured.
In a report released on November 14, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said 408 children were among the 6,557 people killed since the start of the invasion. Ukrainian authorities and the United Nations say the true numbers were “certainly higher”. United Nations data showed that March had been the deadliest month of the conflict.
At least seven civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Tuesday and 23 others have been injured, according to Tymoshenko. Among the dead were two people in the Kherson region in the south of the country and two others in Kharkiv in the northeast, he said.
“A 13-year-old boy died while driving with his father from the church, where they were hiding from shelling,” Yaroslav Yanushevych, head of the Kherson regional military administration, told Ukrainian television. “The child was injured by a fragmentation projectile and died overnight in hospital.”
He said another local boy lost an arm when he was hit by shrapnel, while another was injured in the stomach. He gave no further information about the attacks.