Newborn baby killed in Russian strike on Ukrainian maternity hospital

23 November 2022, 10:32

Aftermath of airstrike on maternity hospital in Vilniansk, Ukraine
The hospital in the small town of Vilniansk was reduced to rubble. Picture: Social media. Picture: Social media

By James Hockaday

A Russian missile strike on a maternity hospital in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region has killed a newborn baby, according to local officials.

Video footage shows firefighters rescuing a man who was submerged waist deep in rubble, following the rocket attack on the town of Vilniansk overnight.

Rescuers said there was "a woman in labour with a newborn baby as well as a doctor" inside the two-storey building. In a social media post, they said: “As a result of the attack, a baby born in 2022 died. The woman and doctor were rescued from the rubble.”

It is thought that no one else was trapped under the debris. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of bringing “terror and murder” to his country.

He said: “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.”

Channel 4 News international editor Lindsey Hilsum tweeted: “The maternity wing of Vil’nyansk Hospital in Zaporizhzhia was hit by a Russian strike early this morning. There was one casualty: Serhii. He was one day old.”

The World Health Organization has warned that Ukrainian hospitals are lacking fuel, water and power in the face of Russian rocket attacks and a global energy crisis.

Recent airstrikes have resulted in power outages which have cut supply for up to 10 million people at a time.

Read more: Boris Johnson claims France was in 'denial' over Russian invasion and Germany wanted Ukraine to 'fold quickly'

President Zelenskyy said special ‘invincibility centres’ will be set up across Ukraine to provide internet, mobile phone connections, heat, water, electricity and medicine, free of charge, around the clock for people in need.

He added: “If massive Russian strikes happen again and it’s clear power will not be restored for hours, the 'invincibility centres' will go into action with all key services.”

The small town of Vilniansk is around 30 miles from the frontline of the Ukraine conflict, and lies just outside the city of Zaporizhzhia.

Moscow claimed to have annexed the southern region in September, but has since been pushed back in the south by a fierce counteroffensive.

Read more: Ukraine could ‘reach Crimea by Christmas with Russia war over by spring' says ex major general

Aftermath of a rocket attack on a maternity hospital in Vilniansk, Ukraine
Officials said a doctor and mother were rescued from the wreckage. Picture: Social media. Picture: Social media

Read more: Mystery as Putin's military crony found shot dead with multiple bullet wounds in his office

The region is also home to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which has been a great source of tension throughout Vladimir Putin’s invasion as the international community fears reckless attacks on and around the site could trigger a nuclear catastrophe.

On Tuesday the Kremlin said no progress had been made in forming a security zone around the Russian-occupied power plant accusing Kyiv of shelling it on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Ukraine denied the allegations and accused Russia of the exact same thing.

The UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) condemned the attack, with director general Rafael Mariano Grossi saying: “Explosions occurred at the site of this major nuclear power plant, which is completely unacceptable.

“Whoever is behind this, it must stop immediately. As I have said many times before, you’re playing with fire!”