Ukraine war: Newborn baby ‘killed in Russian strike on maternity hospital’, says local official

 (via REUTERS)

Russian missiles have hit a maternity hospital in the Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, killing a baby, according to local officials.

Zaporizhzhia governor Oleksandr Starukh said early on Wednesday that the strike on the city of Vilniansk has killed a newborn baby.

“Grief fills our hearts,” he said.

More details of the strike were not immediately available.

The World Health Organization warned this week that hundreds of Ukrainian hospitals and healthcare facilities were lacking 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,” Hans Kluge, the WHO regional director for Europe, said in a statement after visiting Ukraine.

Ukrainian rescuers remove a doctor from the rubble of a hospital maternity ward (via REUTERS)
Ukrainian rescuers remove a doctor from the rubble of a hospital maternity ward (via REUTERS)

The problem is exacerbated by relentless Russian shelling that has left swathes of Ukraine with power outages, knocking out the supply for up to ten million people at a time.

On Tuesday, Ukraine’s national power grid operator said the damage had been colossal.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky vowed that special “invincibility centres" will be set up around the country to provide electricity, heat, water, internet, mobile phone connections and a pharmacy, free of charge and around the clock.

“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,” he said.

The strikes on energy facilities come after battlefield losses that have included a retreat of Russian forces from the southern city of Kherson to the east bank of the Dnipro River.

Battles continue 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, Mr Zelensky said.

The Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has claimed Russian strikes on energy infrastructure were a consequence of Kyiv being unwilling to negotiate.