Mykolaiv hospital hit by Russian shelling

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It has been a turbulent first night for Bohdan, who was born in the makeshift bomb shelter after his mother, Vitalina, and others from the maternity ward made the most harrowing journey to safety since the last floor of the hospital.

“Russians are animals; there is no other explanation,” said Bohdan’s grandmother, Vlada. The family declined to provide their surnames for security reasons.

Vlada cried as she hugged her daughter and met Bohdan for the first time. He slept with a pacifier in his mouth. Three other women and their babies were sitting on beds in a small basement room.

Hospitals in Ukraine have been battered by artillery and airstrikes with increasing frequency. The World Health Organization said as of March 30, it had verified 82 incidents of attacks on health care since Russia invaded Ukraine, killing 72 and injuring 43.

In Mykolaiv City Hospital No. 5, no one was injured in the attack. As nurses and volunteers moved from ward to ward picking up broken glass, their feelings ranged from distress to anger. A staff member cried as he opened the door to what was once his lab. The window pane was gone. The glass in the cupboards was also broken.

“My God, can this end already?” said Lyubov Byaluk, a nurse at the hospital. “What did we even do?” We have never attacked anyone.

The heavy shelling across Mykolaiv on Sunday – one person died and 14 people were injured, according to Vitaliy Kim, governor of Mykolaiv Oblast – comes as the war with Russia could shift further east and south from Ukraine. Moscow withdrew its forces from areas north of kyiv, but its army continued heavy fighting in the eastern Donbass region and along the front line east of Mykolaiv.

Mykolaiv, near Ukraine’s Black Sea littoral, has been a key battleground: Ukrainian forces have held Russia back here, delaying any potential Russian assault on Odessa, the country’s largest port city, 70 miles to the east. Where is. But Russian troops maintain a presence in the neighboring region of Kherson, just 80 kilometers away.

Kim told a news conference on Monday that Russian projectiles hit more than 2,000 buildings, including homes, hospitals and other health facilities. The strikes killed at least 161 people, including six children, he said.

Kim said the Russian attacks were an “attempt to scare” locals but the situation was “under control”. He added that no military installations were hit. Last week, a missile strike hit a main government building in the city center, killing at least 36 people and injuring others.

The part of the Mykolaiv hospital furthest from where the shell landed suffered less damage, so some patients were transferred to this wing. Others were evacuated to other hospitals. In the basement, an elderly woman was lying on a mat on the floor. She had to be transported here Sunday evening.

On another cot in the hallway, Liuba arrived at the hospital with chest pains and heart problems. She raised her fist to illustrate the state of her heart now, after a night she described as “very, very scary”. Upstairs, his sons were helping in the considerable cleaning effort. Then she planned to go home, even though it was against doctor’s orders.

“I’m too scared to stay here or go to another hospital,” she said.

Hassan reported from London.

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