A newborn baby was killed following a Russian strike that hit a maternity ward in Ukraine‘s southern Zaporizhzhia region, which Moscow claims to have annexed, Ukrainian emergency services said Wednesday.
Overnight on Tuesday to Wednesday, ‘in the city of Vilniansk in Zaporizhzhia 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.
They added that there was ‘a woman in labour with a newborn baby as well as a doctor’ inside the building.
Reports initially said the baby was killed and that a new mother and a doctor were pulled from the rubble, and that they were the only people in the ward at the time.
The service specified in a follow-up post on Telegram that the rescued woman was the newborn’s mother. The region’s governor said the rockets were Russian.
Scroll down for video
A Russian missile struck the maternity ward of the Vilnianska Hospital near Zaporizhzhia, early Wednesday morning. Pictured: Firefighters search through the rubble of a building, Nov. 23
Pictured: Rescuers work at the site of a maternity ward of a hospital destroyed by a Russian missile attack, as their attack on Ukraine continues, in Vilniansk, Zaporizhzhia region
Pictured: A digger moves rubble from the site of the Russian missile strike on Wednesday
‘As a result of the attack, a baby born in 2022 died, the woman and doctor were rescued from the rubble,’ rescuers said, adding that according to preliminary information there was nobody else trapped under the debris.
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 maternity ward. Pictures from the scene showed firefighters working through the rubble.
In the footage, firefighters are seen carefully removing debris from the man – reported to be the doctor – whose face is covered in dirt and dust.
Following the attack, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of bringing ‘terror and murder’ to Ukraine.
‘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,’ Zelensky said on social media. ‘Instead, it will only be held to account for all the evil it has brought to our country,’ he added.
Regional governor, Oleksandr Starukh, wrote on the Telegram messaging app: ‘At night, Russian monsters launched huge rockets at the small maternity ward of the hospital in Vilniansk. Grief overwhelms our hearts – a baby was killed who had just seen the light of day. Rescuers are working at the site.’
The small town of Vilniansk is around 30 miles from the front line and last week was targeted in Russian strikes that killed 10 people, officials have said.
It is located in the Zaporizhzhia region, which Moscow claimed to have annexed despite not having full control of the territory.
A Russian missile struck the maternity ward of the Vilnianska Hospital near Zaporizhzhia early on Nov. 23, Governor Starukh wrote on Telegram
This image circulating on social media shows how sections of the building were completely destroyed in the attack
Rescuers work at the site of a maternity ward of a hospital destroyed by a Russian missile attack, as their attack on Ukraine continues, in Vilniansk, Ukraine, November 23
Pictured: Rescuers work at the site of the maternity ward
Ukrainian rescuers remove a doctor from the rubble of a hospital maternity ward destroyed by a Russian missile attack, as their attack on Ukraine continues, in Vilniansk
Britain to send Sea King helicopters to Ukraine
The Ministry of Defence has announced Britain will send helicopters to Ukraine for the first time since the war began.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said it will be the first time piloted aircraft have been sent to the war-torn nation since Russia’s invasion.
According to the BBC, three former Sea King helicopters will be provided. The first of which has already arrived in Ukraine.
Mr Wallace, who made the announcement from Oslo where he is meeting allies to discuss ongoing military support for Kyiv, added that the UK will also send an additional 10,000 artillery rounds.
It comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak used a visit to the Ukrainian capital to set out a new £50 million package of defence aid which included 125 anti-aircraft guns and equipment to counter Iranian-supplied drones.
The UK defence spending aims to ‘protect Ukrainian civilians and critical national infrastructure from an intense barrage of Russian strikes’.
The UK will send three former Sea King helicopters (pictured, file photo) to Ukraine, one has already arrived in the country
By Alastair Lockhart For Mailonline
The strike in Vilniansk, close to the city of Zaporizhzhia, adds to the gruesome toll suffered by hospitals and other medical facilities – and their patients and staff – in the Russian invasion entering its tenth month this week.
On March 9, in the early stages of the war, the Russian Air Force bombed Mariupol’s Maternity Hospital No 3 – a complex doubling as a children’s hospital. The strike killed three people, injured at least sixteen, and caused at least one stillbirth.
The strike was roundly criticised at the time, with images from the blast site broadcast around the globe, and the world gave an early indication of the Russian military’s brutality that was to become a theme of the war.
In one image, a heavily pregnant women was seen being led down the stairs and stretchered away through the rubble – her face covered in blood.
Another pregnant woman was also seen being stretchered through the rubble-covered courtyard of the hospital. She and her baby later died.
Moscow insisted it was ‘staged’, despite overwhelming evidence on the contrary.
Since Russia’s invasion began, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has registered 703 attacks on healthcare infrastructure.
In recent weeks, as Russia has suffered embarrassing military defeats on the ground and has been pushed back in key southern regions – including the retreat from Kherson – the Kremlin’s generals have unleashed hundreds of missile strikes.
‘Ukraine’s health system is facing its darkest days in the war so far. Having endured more than 700 attacks, it is now also a victim of the energy crisis,’ Hans Kluge, the WHO regional director for Europe, said in a statement after visiting Ukraine.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, two people were killed in shelling of a residential building and a clinic in the northeastern Kharkiv region, said local governor Oleg Synegubov.
‘Around 7:40 am (0540 GMT) Kupiansk was shelled. A nine-storey residential building and a clinic were damaged. Unfortunately, two people died: a 55-year-old woman and a 68-year-old man,’ Synegubov said on social media.
And on Tuesday, a social worker was killed and two other civilians were wounded Tuesday after Russian tank shells hit an aid distribution point in southern Ukraine, according to the governor of Zaporizhzhia.
Pictured: Rescuers work at the site of the maternity ward
Pictured: Emergency responders are seen outside the maternity ward in Vilniansk
‘Continued attacks on health and energy infrastructure mean hundreds of hospitals and health care facilities are no longer fully operational,’he added.
Russia has launched six massive aerial attacks against Ukraine’s power grid and other infrastructure
Since Oct. 10, Russia has launched six massive aerial attacks against Ukraine’s power grid and other infrastructure – as the war approaches its nine-month mark.
That targeted onslaught has caused widespread blackouts and deprived millions of Ukrainians of electricity, heat and water.
Zelenskyy said Tuesday in a video speech to a French municipal group that Russian missile strikes have destroyed nearly half of the country’s energy facilities ‘to turn the cold of winter into a weapon of mass destruction.’
Later, in his nightly video address, he announced the establishment of ‘Points of Invincibility’ where people can gather for electricity, mobile communications, internet access, heat, water, and first aid.
As a result of the strikes, Ukrainians have been warned they could fave rolling blackouts from now through March in frigid, snowy weather.
Ukrainian servicemen drive a tank in eastern Ukraine on November 22, 2022
A local resident carries a sheet of plywood destined to cover a broken window of a residential building after a recent attack in Chasiv Yar on November 22
Sergey Kovalenko, the CEO of private energy provider DTEK Yasno, said the company is under instructions from Ukraine’s state grid operator to resume emergency blackouts in the areas it covers, including the capital, Kyiv, and the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region.
‘Although there are fewer blackouts now, I want everyone to understand: Most likely, Ukrainians will have to live with blackouts until at least the end of March,’ Kovalenko warned on Facebook.
‘We need to be prepared for different options, even the worst ones. Stock up on warm clothes and blankets. Think about what will help you wait out a long shutdown,’ he told Ukrainian residents.
Temperatures commonly stay below freezing in Ukraine in the winter, and snow has already fallen in many areas, including Kyiv. Ukrainian authorities are evacuating civilians from recently liberated sections of the southern Kherson and Mykolaiv regions out of fear the winter will be too hard to survive.
The strike on the Vilniansk maternity ward comes as…
- Ukraine’s presidential office said Tuesday that at least eight civilians were killed and 16 were injured over the previous 24 hours, as Moscow’s forces again used drones, rockets and heavy artillery to pound eight Ukrainian regions.
- In the eastern Donetsk region, fierce battles continued around Bakhmut, where the Kremlin’s forces are keen to clinch a victory after weeks of embarrassing military setbacks. Donetsk Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko also said Russia launched missiles at Kramatorsk, a Ukrainian military hub, and the city of Avdiivka. Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman hinted at clashes near the Donetsk village of Pavlivka, saying Russian troops ‘destroyed’ three Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance units.
- One civilian was killed and three others wounded after Russian forces shelled the city of Kherson, Ukraine’s presidential office said.
- Two civilians died Tuesday in the Russian border region of Belgorod, its governor said on Telegram. Vyacheslav Gladkov said a married couple were killed by an unexploded munition in Staroselye, on the border with Ukraine’s northern Sumy region. He said a woman was killed in shelling of Shebekino, close to Ukraine’s Kharkiv province.
- Ukrainian officials on Tuesday handed over the bodies of 33 soldiers recovered from Russia to their families.
- The U.S. announced disbursement of $4.5 billion (£3.78 billion) to help stabilise Ukraine’s economy and support key Ukrainian government functions. The package will help fund wages for hospital workers, government employees and teachers, as well as social assistance for the elderly and vulnerable.