A two-day-old baby boy has been killed after a Russian missile struck a hospital in southern Ukraine, the region’s governor has said.
“At night, Russian monsters launched huge rockets at the small maternity ward of the hospital in Vilniansk,” Mr Starukh said. “Grief fills our hearts,” he added. “A baby who has just appeared in the world has been killed.”
The newborn’s mother was, however, rescued from the rubble, reports say.
Mr Starukh shared a series of images of the destruction via the Kyiv Independent. The photographs show thick smoke rising above mounds of rubble being combed by emergency workers under the shroud of an ink-black night sky.
A series of images distributed by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine later on this morning showed a rescue operation was underway to rescue hospital workers and patients from the hospital wreckage.
A doctor was also seriously injured after the ward in Vilnyansk was hit by S-300 missiles, it has been reported.
President Volodymyr Zelensky 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.”
The strike in the city of Vilniansk 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 an airstrike on 9 March that destroyed a maternity hospital in the now-occupied port city of Mariupol.
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.
Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential office, condemned the attack in a Telegram post. Referring to Russian forces as “terrorists”, he said Moscow would be held responsible for “every Ukrainian life”.
It comes after the World Health Organisation said that hundreds of Ukrainian hospitals and healthcare facilities are on the verge of breakdown as they lack fuel, water and electricity.
“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,” WHO regional director for Europe Hans Kluge said after visiting Ukraine.
This winter will be life-threatening for millions of people in Ukraine, the top official warned.
Last week, the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Russia’s strikes on energy infrastructure were a consequence of Kyiv being unwilling to negotiate.