The windows of the final specialised maternity unit in the eastern Donbas still under Ukrainian control are stuffed with sandbags. The two-wall rule, which states that the safest areas of a structure are shielded from the outside by at least two walls, is followed in the birthing rooms at the perinatal centre in the city of Pokrovsk.
Dr. Ivan Tsyganok, the center’s director, stated that ‘sometimes we’ve had to deliver babies during shelling.’ The process of labour cannot be stopped.
The centre, which is about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the nearest front line, offers a glimpse of the suffering that the war is causing to expectant mothers, including their worry about where they can give birth, their concerns that the hospital may be attacked, and what medical professionals have noticed as an increased rate of early labour.
Tsyganok worries that the stress of being under Russian bombardment has caused a rise in preterm deliveries, and preliminary statistics from the centre shared with Reuters and witnessed elsewhere in combat zones support this worry.
Russia denies targeting civilians, but as the greatest battle in Europe since World War Two approaches its five-month mark, numerous Ukrainian cities, towns, and villages have been destroyed.
Moscow claims to be carrying out a ‘special military operation’ to disarm Ukraine and protect Russian-speaking citizens from being persecuted by nationalists; Kyiv rejects this claim as a bogus excuse for an imperialistic territorial grab.