VILNYANSK, Ukraine (AP) – A Russian missile hit the maternity ward of a hospital in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, killing a newborn and seriously injuring a doctor. The overnight explosion left the small town’s hospital a crumbling mess of bricks, scattering medical supplies across the small compound.
It was the second deadly attack on the small town of Vilnius in a week, and Mayor Nataliya Usienko said she feared it would not be the last.
“The attack began and the first S300 rocket was launched. The second rocket hit this place, the main general hospital, in the maternity ward where there were people,” she said. “One woman gave birth two days ago. She gave birth to a boy. Unfortunately, this rocket took the life of this child who lived for only two days.”
Six days ago, she said, 11 people were killed when a Russian rocket hit a residential building.
“It is very dangerous to be here,” Usienko said. “It’s 90% certain he’ll be hit again.”
Municipal workers worked well after sunset to shore up walls that were in danger of falling, relying on generators for light and to run their power tools.
Nataliya Pullman, a resident who walks past the destroyed hospital, said she was beyond angry.
“I have no words, no feelings. I don’t know what a normal person should feel. I feel sorry for the victims,” she said.
Kirilo, the boy killed in the rocket attack, and his mother were due to be released on Wednesday, Usienko said.
The vice president of the International Rescue Committee for Emergency Situations, Bob Kitchen, condemned the attack.
“The tragic images of rescuers working at the maternity hospital site that we saw this morning illustrate that women and children continue to pay the highest price for this war,” Kitchen said. “No child should be born under a barrage of rocket attacks. No child should die buried in the rubble left over from hospitals, where their mothers seek safety and protection.”
Russia has repeatedly targeted hospitals since the war began on February 24, including a deadly airstrike in March on a maternity hospital in the city of Mariupol that killed a woman and her unborn child.
Edith M. Lederer contributed to the United Nations.
Follow AP coverage of the war in Ukraine at: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine