Mar 14, 2022 - World

Report: Pregnant woman and baby die after Russian attack on Mariupol hospital

A sign reading "no war"
A demonstrator holds a sign while protesting against the war in Ukraine in Denver, Colo., on March 12. Photo: Jason Connolly/AFP via Getty Images

A pregnant woman whose suffering was captured in an image that showed the immense human cost of Russia's war in Ukraine has died along with her baby, AP reports.

The big picture: The woman was photographed by AP last Wednesday as rescue workers carried her on a stretcher following a Russian attack on a children's and maternity hospital in the port city of Mariupol. The woman's pale hand clutched her stomach as she lay on the stretcher in bloodied clothes.

  • Surgeon Timur Marin told AP that the woman's pelvis had been crushed and hip detached. The baby was delivered via a cesarean section, but did not show "signs of life," Marin said.
  • The woman cried out "kill me now" as she realized she was losing her baby, medics told AP, which is one of the few news organizations still able to report from besieged Mariupol.
  • Medics were unable to get her name before her husband and father took her body away to be buried, per AP.

Mariana Vishegirskaya, who gave birth to a girl the day after the airstrike on the hospital, told AP that patients were "lying in wards when glass, frames, windows and walls flew apart."

  • An image of Vishegirskaya just after the attack showed the pregnant woman in polka dot pajamas covering herself with a blanket as she walked through debris and down a damaged staircase. “We don’t know how it happened. We were in our wards and some had time to cover themselves, some didn’t," she told AP.
Ukrainian citizens and supporters attend a demonstration of solidarity with Ukraine in Krakow, Poland on March 13, 2022.
Ukrainian citizens and supporters attend a demonstration of solidarity with Ukraine in Krakow, Poland, on March 13. Photo: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

What they're saying: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said last week that the attack on the hospital was "proof that the genocide of Ukrainians is taking place."

  • "A children's hospital. Maternity hospital. What did they threaten the Russian Federation with?" Zelensky said in a televised address. "What kind of country is this — the Russian Federation, which is afraid of hospitals and maternity hospitals and destroys them?"
  • Russia has claimed without evidence that the hospital was being used for Ukrainian military activity.
  • More than 2,400 civilians have been killed in Mariupol since the invasion began, the European Union said Monday, per Reuters.

There have been at least 31 confirmed attacks on Ukrainian health facilities since Russia began its unprovoked invasion, according to the World Health Organization.

  • The WHO and other UN agencies on Sunday called for the "immediate cessation of all attacks on health care in Ukraine."
  • More than 4,300 births have occurred in Ukraine since the war began and about 80,000 Ukrainian women are expected to give birth in the next three months, according to the UN.
  • "To attack the most vulnerable — babies, children, pregnant women, and those already suffering from illness and disease, and health workers risking their own lives to save lives — is an act of unconscionable cruelty," the UN Children's Fund, the UN Population Fund and the WHO said in a joint statement.

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