On March 12th, Russia decided to bomb a children’s and maternity hospital in the city of Mariupol. Several hours after the attack, bodies were still being found. The city had already been under siege for two weeks and more than 1100 civilians have been killed.
Mariana Vishegirskaya, pregnant, in pajamas, with a blanket on her back and a bloody face. The image became the most known picture of her as she had to evacuate a hospital in the city of Mariupol, Ukraine, before the bombardments of the Russian troops.
The image of Vishegirskaya, photographed by a reporter of the US agency AP, has generated rejection towards the actions of the Russian military, in what many have labeled as a war crime. According to local authorities, three people were killed, including a child, and 17 others were wounded in the bombing of the mother and child hospital.
The health institution was left in ruins. Several internet users, mainly from Russia, have claimed that it was all a lie and that the woman had lent herself to a theatrical staging. Such accusations, without any proof, were backed up by the Russian Embassy in the UK. Even the Russian Minister of Defense, Igor Konashenkov, made a statement on the matter.
“Russian aircraft did not carry out any mission against targets in the Mariupol area. The alleged aerial bombardment is a complete provocation staged to maintain the anti-Russian stir among a Western audience,” he asserted.
Mariana Vishegirskaya is a Ukrainian influencer. She uses her networks to share cosmetics and a range of other beauty products for skin and hair care. According to preliminary information, she had entered the hospital in Mariupol to give birth in the midst of the war in her country. She was a victim of the attacks along with other families.
From the photographs taken by the AP agency, it’s unlikely that Vishegirskaya has faked a pregnancy. Though perhaps seen as unreliable, there are also posts on her Instagram account and the images her partner had been sharing.
“Family is the most important thing in the world. If you don’t have family, consider that you have nothing. Family is the strongest bond in your life,” reads one of the ‘post’ of Yuri Vyshemirsky, the husband.
It has since become known that Mariana gave birth to a baby girl after surviving the bombing. “They are fine, but it is very cold in Mariupol and the shelling does not stop,” reported Olga Tokariuk, a freelance journalist covering the war in Ukraine. As the hours passed, photos of the birth of her daughter became known. She is seen on a stretcher while her partner cooing over the baby named Veronika.
Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelenski said that the Russian shelling of the hospital is “the final proof of the genocide” being committed against his people. The United Nations (UN) backed the information following reports from its staff in the area.
“There was indiscriminate shelling against a hospital that was treating women and children,” commented Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the international body.