Human Interest

Ukrainian mother used her body to shield six-week-old baby from explosion

Ukraine

A 27-year-old Ukrainian woman used her body to protect her six-week-old baby after a blast struck near the family’s home in Kyiv. The story is only the latest to highlight the impact Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had on civilians, pushing many parents to go to incredible lengths to protect their children.

In an interview with Reuters, Olga described how shrapnel and glass from the explosion flew around the room and how she screamed when she saw blood covering her daughter, Victoria.

“I was wounded in the head, and blood started flowing. And it all flowed on the baby,” she said. “I couldn’t understand, I thought it was her blood.”

The mother remembered Victoria’s father, Dmytro, telling her that the blood was actually her and not the baby’s. According to a March 18 Facebook post from the Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital, the family was admitted for injuries related to the shrapnel from the explosion. Doctors treated Dmytro’s leg and performed surgery on Olga to remove multiple fragments from her body. 

A doctor at Ohmatdyt, Anatoliy Tymoshenko, also told Reuters that Olga’s breasts were injured and she had “multiple deep wounds on her forehead,” but “the baby was not hurt.”

An Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital Instagram post quoted Dmytro and Olga saying that they “heard heavy shelling at night — it was coming closer and closer until it finally hit the building” near their home.”

“When I went outside, I saw that the shell hit a kindergarten near our house,” Dmytro said, according to the social media post. “There are no more ceilings, and the houses nearby don’t have windows and doors anymore. The pieces of the glass flew straight at us.”

As The Washington Post reported, Olga had woken up to feed and bathe her baby when the missile strike occurred. At the time of the blast, Victoria was already sitting in her mother’s lap with a blanket on her.

“And that’s what kept the baby alive. I just got her covered in time,” Olga said. “And then Dmytro jumped up and covered us, too.”

“I didn’t wake up from the explosion. I woke up from Olga’s screaming, and the sound of cracking glass as it shattered,” the father told Reuters. “I didn’t even hear the explosion, because the sound of the glass was much louder.”

“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.

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