A newborn baby has become one of the youngest victims of Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine after Russian shells pounded a maternity ward in the south of the country, Ukrainian officials said.
The child’s mother and attending doctor had been rescued, according to the State Emergency Service of Ukraine.
“Grief fills our hearts — a baby who has just appeared in the world has been killed,” Oleksandr Starukh, the regional governor of the Zaporizhzhia said in a post on his Telegram channel.
He added that the “small maternity ward,” had been hit by “huge missiles.”
The two-story building “was destroyed,” the emergency service said in a separate post on its Telegram.
“At that time, there was one woman in labor with a newborn baby, as well as a doctor,” the post said.
The attack came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy promised that Special “invincibility centers” would be set up around his country to provide electricity, heat, water, internet, mobile phone connections and a pharmacy, free of charge and around the clock.
“If massive Russian strikes take place again and if there is an understanding that the electricity supply cannot be restored within hours, the work of the ‘Points of Invincibility’ will be activated,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address.
“All basic services can be found there: electricity, mobile communication and the Internet, heat, water, and a first-aid kit. Absolutely free and around the clock,” he added.
Zelenskyy’s announcement came after the past week saw the first snow of winter fall over much of the country amid Russian strikes that have devastated Ukraine’s power infrastructure.
Nine months after the invasion that has left tens of thousands dead, uprooted millions more and pummeled the global economy, authorities warn of power cuts that could affect millions through to the end of March.
Average winter temperatures in Ukraine are around 27 degrees Fahrenheit, and are expected to reach minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit in parts of the country in the coming months, the World Health Organization has said.
“This winter will be life-threatening for millions of people in Ukraine,” said Dr. Hans Henri Kluge, the United Nations health agency’s regional director for Europe.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that some 8,500 power generator sets are being imported to Ukraine daily.
Meanwhile, battles continued to rage in the east, where Russia is pressing an offensive along a stretch of front line west of the city of Donetsk, which has been held by its proxies since 2014.
The Donetsk region was the scene of fierce attacks and constant shelling over the past 24 hours, Zelenskyy said.
In Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, Russian air defenses were activated and two drone attacks were repelled on Tuesday, including one targeting a power station near Sevastopol, the Russian-installed Governor, Mikhail Razvozhaev said in a Telegram post.
Sevastopol is the home port of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.
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