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Ukrainian mother wounded while shielding baby from blast

▶ Watch Video: Devastation on Ukraine’s eastern coast, where injured kids narrowly escaped Russian shelling

A photo of a Ukrainian mother cradling her baby in the hospital after she was seriously wounded in a missile strike by Russia has gone viral. The photo shows Olga, head wrapped in a bandage, breast feeding her baby in a bed at Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital. She still has blood splattered on her face.

The 27-year-old woman, who did not share her last name, shielded her baby, Victoria, from shrapnel after a missile strike in Kyiv on Friday, according to Reuters. “I was wounded in the head, and blood started flowing. And it all flowed on the baby,” Olga told the news agency. “I couldn’t understand, I thought it was her blood.”

Olga, a 27-year-old Ukrainian woman seriously wounded while sheltering her baby from shrapnel blasts amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, holds her baby Victoria as her husband Dmytro stands by her side in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 18, 2022.

Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital/via Reuters

The missile strike shattered glass across the room. The baby’s father, Dmytro, woke up to the sound. He took Victoria as Olga began screaming her baby had been cut. “Olga, it’s your blood, it’s not hers,” Dmytro told her. 

Olga was feeding her 6-week-old when the strike happened, and fortunately the baby was covered in a blanket, which helped keep her safe. “And that’s what kept the baby alive. I just got her covered in time. And then Dmytro jumped up and covered us, too,” Olga said. 

Olga, lies on a stretcher in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 18, 2022.

Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital/via Reuters

The baby was unharmed aside from a scratch and bruises, and Olga is being treated for multiple cuts on her head and body, according to Reuters. 

“There’s nothing left for us to do but to stay positive, just to believe that it was the worst, the most horrible thing that could have happened in our lives,” Dmytro said.

Last week, a maternity hospital in Mariupol was the target of a Russian missile strike. A pregnant woman who was waiting to give birth was photographed after the attack, being rushed into an ambulance. That woman and her baby recently died, according to the Associated Press.  

On Sunday, Russia’s military bombed an art school sheltering some 400 people in the embattled port city of Mariupol, Ukrainian officials said. A theater in the city was also bombed with 1,300 people believed to be inside, local officials said. 

The baby was unharmed aside from a scratch and bruises, and Olga is being treated for multiple cuts on her head and body, according to Reuters. 

Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital/via Reuters

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said an unrelenting Russian siege would be remembered for centuries to come. On Monday, Russia demanded that Ukrainians put down their arms and raise white flags in exchange for safe passage out of town. Ukraine angrily rejected the offer. 

In Lviv, which was hit by Russian forces for the first time last week, 100 empty strollers were placed in rows in a central square on Friday, symbolizing the children killed in the country since Putin’s war began.

At least 115 children have been killed and 148 injured so far, the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office says.

The U.N. has confirmed 902 civilian deaths in the war but concedes the actual toll is likely much higher, according to the AP. It says nearly 3.4 million people have fled Ukraine. Estimates of Russian deaths vary, but even conservative figures are in the low thousands. 



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