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Mariupol hospital attack: Pregnant woman hurt in bombing gives birth

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Image source, AP

A pregnant woman photographed escaping from the wreckage of a hospital bombed by Russia has given birth to a daughter, reports say.

The image of heavily-pregnant Mariana Vishegirskaya, her face bloodied, descending rubble-strewn steps was widely shared amid outrage at the attack, which killed three people.

She gave birth the following day, her niece in Turkey told local media.

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Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN said the baby had been named Veronika.

Sergiy Kyslytsya, who held up a picture of Ms Vishegirskaya and her newborn daughter during remarks at the UN, hit out at “Russian lies” about her in the aftermath of the attack.

Ms Vishegirskaya became the subject of a Russian disinformation campaign after the bombing.

The Russian embassy in the UK tweeted a conspiracy theory that Ms Vishegirskaya was an actress and the aftermath of the attack had been staged.

However, the BBC’s disinformation team found evidence which contradicted the unfounded claims, including that she had somehow pretended to be several women photographed at the scene.

Twitter later removed the Russian embassy’s tweets, saying they violated rules “related to the denial of violent events”.

Further claims circulating online suggested that Ms Vishegirskaya was not even pregnant. However, the beauty blogger revealed she was pregnant in January to her followers – weeks before the invasion – and later asked them if whether they thought she would have a girl or a boy.

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Mr Kyslytsya produced the photo of Ms Vishegirskaya on Friday afternoon, telling those assembled he wanted to share “very good news”.

“Miss Mariana, the pregnant woman gave birth to a healthy daughter last night. Her name is Veronika. Here she is with her father. No matter what the Russian lies are about herself, her family, and the incident,” he said.

He also said that more than 1,500 civilians had been killed by Russia in Mariupol, which has been without water or electricity for days after being surrounded by Russian forces and where several attempts to establish evacuation corridors had failed. Ukraine has said three people, including a child, had been killed in the hospital strike alone.

“For the first time since World War Two people are being buried in mass graves in Ukrainian cities,” Mr Kyslytsya said.

Numerous tech companies have begun blocking Russian state media channels in an attempt to tackle disinformation.

On Friday, YouTube became the latest tech giant to block channels associated with Russian state-funded media. The video streaming service said it had a policy “prohibit content denying, minimizing or trivializing well-documented violent events”.

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