One of the pregnant women pictured escaping the ruins of the Mariupol maternity ward bombed by Russia has given birth to a daughter.
Mariana Vishegirskaya, wearing the same dotted pyjamas she was pictured in as she struggled down the stairs of the devastated hospital, was photographed on Friday by the Associated Press lying in a hospital bed holding her newborn daughter, Veronika.
In another photo, she looks on from her bed as her husband, Yuri, holds their baby.
Mariana Vishegirskaya walks down the stairs of the bombed maternity hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine. Photograph: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP
In the images from Wednesday’s bombing, the Ukrainian beauty blogger Vishegirskaya was visibly injured, with blood on her face, but she was targeted by a Russia disinformation campaign accusing her of faking the injuries.
The Russian embassy in London claimed in a series of tweets on Thursday that Vishegirskaya had been employed as an actor to stage the photos, including a photo of a completely different woman being stretchered out of the hospital.
The embassy plastered a red “fake” stamp across the two pictures as it justified the strike, claiming the maternity hospital had long been defunct and was being used by the rightwing Azov battalion.
The tweets were taken down for violating Twitter rules.
Three people were reportedly killed and 17 injured in the bombing of the children’s hospital and maternity ward, including a child, prompting outrage from Ukrainians and the world.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in an address posted to Telegram that the bombing was the “ultimate evidence” of genocide. “A children’s hospital, a maternity ward. How did they threaten the Russian Federation? What is this country, the Russian Federation, that is afraid of hospitals, maternity wards and is destroying them?” said Zelenskiy.
Mariana Vishegirskaya lies in a hospital bed after giving birth to her daughter, who is held by her husband, Yuri. Photograph: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP
“Hospitals and schools are destroyed. Churches and ordinary buildings are destroyed. People are killed. Children are killed. The aerial bombing of a children’s hospital is the ultimate evidence that genocide of Ukrainians is happening.”
The UN confirmed that the hospital was clearly identifiable and operational when it was hit on Wednesday, contradicting Russian claims.