KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — An overnight rocket attack struck a hospital maternity ward in southern Ukraine, killing a newborn baby, Ukrainian authorities said Wednesday. The baby's mother and a doctor were pulled alive from the rubble.
The region’s governor said the rockets were Russian.
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.
They have been in the firing line from the outset, including a March 9 airstrike that destroyed a maternity hospital in the now-occupied port city of Mariupol.
“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,” said the regional governor, Oleksandr Starukh, writing on the Telegram messaging app.
Photos he posted show thick smoke rising above mounds of rubble, being combed by emergency workers against the backdrop of a dark night sky.
The State Emergency Service initially said a 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.
It said the two-story building was destroyed.
Vilniansk is in the Ukrainian-held north of the Zaporizhzhia region, and is about 500 kilometers (300 miles) southeast of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. Other parts of Zaporizhzhia are Russian-held and it is one of four Ukrainian regions that Russia illegally annexed in September after internationally condemned sham referendums.
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