Irina Kalinina later succumbed to her injuries as widower speaks out about feeling ‘completely destroyed’ after attack on hospital
By Joe Barnes, BRUSSELS CORRESPONDENT, IN KRYVYI RIH
11 November 2022 • 3:29pm
A heavily pregnant woman from Mariupol, a photo of whom became one of the defining images of the Ukraine war, begged medics to let her die after she learnt her unborn baby would not live.
Irina Kalinina was dragged out of the rubble of the city’s maternity hospital on March 9 after it was struck by a Russian air strike.
She was taken out on a stretcher, a stark image that made front pages around the world and became synonymous with the horrors of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But Kalinina and her newborn son, who was delivered by emergency caesarean at a local hospital, eventually succumbed to their injuries.
‘I don’t know how to describe the pain and loss’
Her name was not known at the time, but she has now been identified by her widower, Ivan, who has since sought refuge in Porthcawl, South Wales.
He told BBC’s Panorama they had been trying for years to have a child, and had already named their unborn son Miron, after the Russian word for peace.
He said he felt “completely destroyed” after his wife and child were killed in the attack.
“I don’t know how to describe the pain and loss,” Mr Kalinina said. “I was completely destroyed. I was disappointed in everything. I couldn’t believe Irina died.”
Mr Kalinina said the picture still provokes angry and painful memories of the tragic day he lost his wife and child.
Oksana Kyrsanova, an anaesthetist at Mariupol Regional hospital, witnessed the moment Miron was removed from his mother’s womb.
“The baby was taken out showing no signs of life. I saw tears streaming down the faces of my colleagues,” she said.
Irina begged the medics not to be saved after learning her baby had not survived the attack, she said.
The mother also eventually died of her injuries. They were both placed in the same bodybag by the medics.
“It is the most terrifying thing I have ever seen in my life. Packing a young woman in a black bag with her baby who we laid over her breast,” Ms Kyrsanova said.