Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
ad a b
ad ad ad

Baby killed in Russian strike on maternity ward in Ukraine

Wednesday 23/November/2022 - 03:47 PM
The Reference

President Zelensky accused Russia of bringing “terror and murder” to Ukraine after a strike on a maternity ward killed a newborn baby in the southern Zaporizhzhya region.

The two-day old boy was reported to have died as Russian missiles destroyed a maternity hospital in southern Ukraine, in the latest claimed strike on an apparently civilian target.

Ukrainian officials said the child’s mother had survived the attack early this morning, which left the hospital in ruins, but two doctors had been injured.

“On the night of November 23, in the city of Vilniansk in Zaporizhzhya region, as a result of a rocket attack on the territory of the local hospital, the two-storey building of the maternity ward was destroyed,” rescuers said on social media, adding that “as a result of the attack, a baby born in 2022 died”.

Zelensky said on social media: “The enemy has once again decided to try to achieve with terror and murder what it wasn’t able to achieve for nine months and won’t be able to achieve. Instead, it will only be held to account for all the evil it has brought to our country,” he added.

Oleksandr Starukh, the Zaporizhzhya regional governor, wrote on the messaging service Telegram: “Grief fills our hearts — a baby who has just appeared in the world has been killed.”

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, attributed the attack to S-300 missiles fired by Russia: “At night, the occupiers hit the maternity ward of the local hospital with S-300 missiles. A boy born two days ago died,” he said.

One of the two injured doctors was in a serious condition, he added.

According to the State Emergency Service of Ukraine in the Zaporizhzhya region, two rockets hit the maternity ward just before 2.25am local time. Arriving at the scene, rescuers pulled a doctor from under the rubble and rescued a woman from the second floor of the bombed-out building.

The emergency services distributed a video of rescuers working to free a man trapped waist-deep in the rubble of what appears to be the destroyed ward. “As a result of the incident, a newborn child died, whose body was removed from the rubble by rescuers,” the State Emergency Service said.

British military intelligence said that as well as cruise missiles and rockets such as the S-300, Russia has fired hundreds of Iranian-made explosive drones against tactical military targets and the Ukrainian electricity grid.

Russian commanders were likely to have wanted to target medical facilities and strike them with guided munitions if identified, the Ministry of Defence said.

President Putin’s troops have been using the Shahed-136 so-called kamikaze drones to attack Ukraine in recent months, after buying hundreds of the weapons earlier this year.

The drones are cheap to produce and have become a substitute for Russia’s depleted missile stocks.

The MoD added that no attack drone strikes have been reported since last Thursday — suggesting Russia has “likely very nearly exhausted its current stock”, however.

Last week US intelligence agencies said Russia would start making its own Iranian-designed drones under a deal with Tehran.

In a separate Russian shelling attack, a 13-year-old boy was also reported to have died and two other children wounded in the Kherson region.

Unicef has previously warned about the threats to women and children from Russia’s fierce and continued bombardments. Moscow has denied targeting civilians in the nine-month conflict, despite attacks on hospitals, playgrounds, shopping centres and railway stations, as well as the country’s power grid.

In March the Russian Air Force bombed Maternity Hospital No 3, a hospital complex functioning both as a children’s hospital and maternity ward in Mariupol, killing at least four people and injuring at least 16, and leading to at least one stillbirth.

After the latest attack more than 60 rescuers from the State Emergency Service were involved in the rescue attempt, as well as ambulances and six volunteers from the Ukrainian Red Cross.

Separately, Ukraine’s security service, the SBU, raided a historic monastery in Kyiv, in an operation it says was aimed at stopping Russian agents using the site for sabotage, intelligence or weapons.

The SBU and police raided the 1,000-year-old Kyiv Pechersk Lavra complex, a Unesco world heritage site, early on Tuesday as part of operations to counter suspected “subversive activities by Russian special services”.

Several churches were also raided on suspicion that clergy in Ukraine had been glorifying Russia and could be in league with the Kremlin. The Ukrainian orthodox church earlier this year split from the Moscow patriarchate over the latter’s support for Putin’s invasion.

Russia’s Orthodox Church said on Tuesday that the search was an “act of intimidation” while the foreign ministry in Moscow accused the Ukrainians of “godless Bacchanalia”.

“This is another part of the absolutely immoral and wild actions of the Kyiv regime,” Maria Zakharova, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

The US military estimates that at least 40,000 civilians have died since the start of Russia’s invasion on February 24.