Newborn baby dies in Ukrainian maternity hospital strike

A two-day-old baby died in one Russian strike at a maternity hospital in Vilnyansk in the southeast Ukraine on Wednesday, as Moscow ramped up attacks on civilian infrastructure across the country.

The newborn child’s mother and a doctor were pulled from the rubble of the destroyed medical facility in Zaporizhzhia as nearby private homes were also damaged in the devastating S-300 missile strike. The governor of the region said the missiles were Russian.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the shootings and accused the Kremlin of trying “to commit terror and murder”, while first lady Olena Zelenska called the attack “insane”.
Ukrainian firefighters work in the damaged maternity ward of a hospital in Vilniansk, Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, early Wednesday, November 23, 2022.
A two-day-old baby died on Wednesday in a Russian attack on a maternity hospital in Vilnjansk in southeastern Ukraine. (military administration Zaporizhia region via AP)

“The enemy has decided once again to try to achieve with terror and murder what it has not been able to achieve for nine months and will not be able to achieve,” Zelensky said, referring to Russia.

In her tweet, the first lady expressed her condolences for the death of the two-day-old boy during the strike.

“Terrible pain. We will never forget and never forgive,” said Zelenska.

Photos posted by the governor showed thick smoke rising above heaps of rubble and being combed out by emergency workers against the backdrop of a dark night sky.

“At night, Russian monsters launched huge missiles into the small maternity ward of the hospital in Vilniansk,” regional governor Oleksandr Starukh told the Telegram messaging app.

Ukrainian firefighters work in the damaged maternity ward of a hospital in Vilniansk, Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, early Wednesday, November 23, 2022.
Photos posted by the governor showed thick smoke rising above heaps of rubble and being combed out by emergency workers against the backdrop of a dark night sky. (military administration Zaporizhia region via AP)

“Grief overwhelms our hearts – a baby was killed that had just seen the light of day. Rescue workers are working at the site.”

The state emergency service said the two-story building was destroyed and said the doctor, woman and newborn were the only people in the ward at the time.

The efforts of medical personnel have been hampered by successive Russian attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure in recent weeks.

Ukrainian medical facilities have been hit by a spate of missiles in recent months, with the World Health Organization identifying some 703 attacks on medical complexes across the country since February.

The governor of the region posted this photo on Telegram along with his claims. (Oleksandr Starukh/Telegram)

About one in five people in Ukraine struggle to access medicines, Dr Jarno Habicht, the World Health Organization’s representative in Ukraine, said Monday. The problem is worse in Russia-occupied Ukrainian regions, where one in three people there cannot get the medicines they need, Habicht added.

It is a problem that will be exacerbated by heavy snowfall during Ukraine’s harsh winter season, posing a “fortunate challenge” to the health system, the WHO official warned.

Most Ukrainians left without power after new Russian attacks

A punitive new barrage of Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure on Wednesday caused power outages across much of the country and also neighboring Moldova, further damaging Ukraine’s already battered power grid and adding to the misery for citizens as the winter started getting bigger.

Multiple regions reported attacks in quick succession, and Ukraine’s energy ministry said “the vast majority of electricity consumers had been cut off”. Kiev officials said three people were killed and nine injured in the capital after a Russian strike hit a two-story building.

Russia has been pounding the power grid and other facilities with missiles and exploding drones for weeks, damaging the energy system faster than it can be repaired.

Before the latest barrage, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had said Russian attacks had already damaged about half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

Continued blackouts have become the horrendous new normal for millions and the latest barrage has also affected water supplies. Ukrainian officials believe Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes the misery of unheated and unlit homes in the cold and dark winter will turn public opinion against a continuation of the war, but say it has the opposite effect and strengthens Ukrainian resolve.

Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Wednesday that “one of the capital’s infrastructure facilities was hit” and that there were “further explosions in several districts” of the city. He said the water supply was turned off throughout Kiev.

There were power outages in parts of Kyiv, while power went out in the wider Kyiv region, in the northern city of Kharkiv, the western city of Lviv, and in all or part of the Chernihiv, Kirovohrad, Odessa and Khmelnytskyi regions. In Moldova, Infrastructure Minister Andrei Spinu said “we have massive blackouts across the country,” whose Soviet-era power systems remain connected to Ukraine.

Russia ramps up missile strikes as Zelenskyy addresses world leaders

It was the second outage this month in Moldova. The country’s pro-Western president Maia Sandu said in a statement that “Russia has left Moldova in the dark”. She said the future of Moldova, a country of about 2.6 million people, “must stay towards the free world”. The Moldovan foreign minister said the Russian ambassador was summoned to explain.

Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom said the strikes have resulted in the country’s last three fully functioning nuclear power plants all being disconnected from the power grid in an “emergency protection measure”. It said they would resume electricity supplies once the grid is “normalised”.

Energoatom said on its Telegram channel that radiation levels at the sites are unchanged and “all indicators are normal.”

The Department of Energy said the attacks also caused a temporary blackout of most thermal and hydroelectric power plants, and transmission facilities were also affected. Power workers were working to restore supplies, “but given the extent of the damage, we need time,” Facebook says.

The Ukrainian Air Force said Russia launched about 70 cruise missiles on Wednesday and shot down 51, as well as five detonating drones.

Wednesday’s blackouts also caused “the largest internet outage in Ukraine in months and the first to hit neighboring Moldova, which has since partially recovered,” said Doug Madory, director of internet analytics at Kentik Inc.

Kiev’s mayor warned of a harsh winter ahead amid widespread power outages and plummeting temperatures in the face of Russia’s deadly missile hitting an infrastructure facility.

The attack on Wednesday killed at least three people, including a 17-year-old girl, and injured at least 11 others, as local authorities later cut off water supplies to the region following the shelling.

“We also have to prepare for the worst case scenario,” Mayor Vitali Klitschko told Germany Image newspaper.

“That would be if there were widespread power outages and temperatures were even colder,” he said in an interview published Tuesday.

Vitali Klitschko, mayor of Kyiv and former heavyweight champion.
Vitali Klitschko, mayor of Kyiv and former heavyweight champion, warned of a harsh winter ahead amid widespread power outages and plummeting temperatures. (AP)

“Then parts of the city would have to be evacuated, but we don’t want that!”

The Kremlin is accused of deliberately attacking Ukraine’s civilian power grid in an attempt to leave the civilian population without electricity and heat – an act that would amount to a war crime. A senior US State Department official said Monday that a consistent pattern of Russian attacks on civilian elements in Ukraine is “deeply troubling.”

In a symbolic move that reiterated Western leaders’ condemnation of the Russian invasion, the European Parliament on Wednesday recognized the country “as a state sponsor of terrorism and as a state using means of terrorism”.

The EU parliament called on the European Union “to further isolate Russia internationally” in a non-binding resolution, according to a press release.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the decision.

“Russia must be isolated and held accountable at all levels to end its longstanding policy of terrorism in Ukraine and around the world,” he tweeted.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also thanked the European Parliament “for the clear position” on Twitter.

CNN has contacted Russian authorities for comment.

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