Horrific reality of war in Ukraine: Woman clutches six-year-old girl's pink scarf as she lies in ambulance after being fatally wounded in bombardment of her home... as medic who fought in vain to save her says: 'Show this to PUTIN. The eyes of this child'
- GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING: Fight to save little girl's life in Mariupol lays bare attacks on Ukrainian people
- Child wearing pink unicorn pyjamas was fatally injured in shell blast on her family home in southern port
- Photographs chart the final minutes of her life as paramedics and doctors battled to revive the unnamed child
- Final image of her lying dead in hospital the defining image of the human cost to Putin's war in the Ukraine
- Deputy Mayor of Kyiv shares photo of a girl named Polina, who he says was killed while in a car with her family
- President Zelensky said in a TV address today that 16 Ukrainian children have been killed and 45 wounded
PUBLISHED: 20:08 AEDT, 28 February 2022 | UPDATED: 21:38 AEDT, 28 February 2022
Putin's disgraceful war waged on the people of Ukraine is laid bare today in heart-wrenching pictures capturing the death of an innocent six-year-old dubbed the girl in the pink unicorn pyjamas - one of 16 children now killed in the conflict.
These upsetting pictures chart the fight to save the unnamed little girl who was fatally injured when the Russians shelled her Mariupol apartment block yesterday - and epitomises the terrible toll war is having on civilians, especially children.
Clutching her blood-covered hand to her mouth and carrying the child's slippers, pompom scarf and bobble hat, one woman, who could be her mother, was photographed as attempts were made to resuscitate her in the back of an ambulance.
The next picture, too graphic to be published, shows the girl's father holding his lifeless child's hand as the paramedic performs CPR on her tiny body. He is sobbing while covered in what appears to be her blood.
A team of doctors then tenderly carries the child, who is still wearing her red-stained unicorn pyjamas, into the hospital in the coastal city. Her bedclothes are then cut away so a team of seven doctors work on her body, which is still being gripped by the male loved-one who appears to be praying.
During the rescue attempt, a doctor in blue medical scrubs, pumping oxygen into the girl, is said to have turned to the AP photographer and said: 'Show this to Putin: The eyes of this child, and crying doctors.'
The final image shows the child alone on a gurney in an empty ward, having been declared dead in a war that had by Sunday claimed civilian victims of at least 210, including multiple children, according to Ukraine's human rights commissioner.
The gut-wrenching picture of the child's pale and lifeless body could become the defining images of the conflict in the same way the photo of three-year-old Syrian boy Alan Kurdi, washed up drowned on a Turkish beach 2015, horrified the world and laid bare the plight of refugees fleeing the wartorn country.
Her death, and of other children, exposes Putin's filthy lie that he is not waging war on the Ukrainian people amid calls for him to be treated as a war criminal for his bombing of civilians. Several nurseries and kindergartens have also been hit.
Today the Deputy Mayor of Kyiv Vladimir Bondarenko shared a photograph of a pink-haired girl Polina, believed to be around ten or 11, killed while trying to escape the capital in a car with her family.
President Zelensky said in a TV address today that 16 Ukrainian children have been killed and 45 wounded in the four days since the invasion began.
Hundreds of thousands of women and children are fleeing Ukraine for the West, with some children separated or even orphaned since the invasion began. Queues of up to 25 miles are reported at the border with Poland.
A woman, who could be the child's mother, reacts as paramedics perform CPR on a girl who was fatally injured during shelling, at city hospital of Mariupol. She clutches her blood-soaked hand to her mouth while clutching the child's belongings with the other
The child lies dead and alone in the city's hospital after Russian attacks claimed her life
The deputy mayor of Kyiv and BBC has shared this picture of a little girl named Polina, who they say was killed while in a car with her parents and was die to finish primary school this year
An injured child is supported by a loved one as he lies on a ventilator after being wounded in a car during Russian attacks that claimed the life of a six-year-old sibling
A Ukrainian father says a tearful goodbye to his son as he boards a train with his mother and sister as men stay behind in Kyiv and other cities to fight the Russians
A Ukrainian child sobs alone in a railways station as Europe faces a fresh refugee crisis as millions are potentially displaced by war
Children cling to the windows of coaches or cry as they are separated from families and taken away from the front line
A woman and a child wait for a call to cross the Polish passport control after arriving in a train from Kiev at the Przemysl main train station
A member of the Slovak Armed Forces carries a child fleeing from Ukraine who arrived in Slovakia with her family, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine
Putin dramatically escalated East-West tensions by ordering Russian nuclear forces put on high alert on Sunday, while Ukraine's embattled leader agreed to talks with Moscow as Putin's forces drove deeper into the country.
Putin cited 'aggressive statements' by NATO in issuing a directive to increase the readiness of his country's nuclear weapons - a step that raised fears that the invasion of Ukraine could boil over into nuclear war, whether by design or mistake.
The Russian leader is 'potentially putting in play forces that, if there's a miscalculation, could make things much, much more dangerous,' said a senior U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Amid the mounting tensions, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's office announced that the two sides would meet at an unspecified location on the Belarusian border, where a Russian delegation was waiting Sunday.
But the Kremlin's ultimate aims in Ukraine - and what steps might be enough to satisfy Moscow - remained unclear.
The fast-moving developments came as scattered fighting was reported in Kyiv, battles broke out in Ukraine's second-largest city, Kharkiv, and strategic ports in the country's south came under assault from Russian forces.
With Russian troops closing in around Kyiv, a city of almost 3million, the mayor of the capital expressed doubt civilians could be evacuated.
Across the country, Ukrainian defenders were putting up stiff resistance that appeared to slow Russia's advance.
Meanwhile, the top official in the European Union outlined plans by the 27-nation bloc to close its airspace to Russian airlines and fund the purchase of weapons for Ukraine.
'For the first time ever, the European Union will finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and other equipment to a country that is under attack,' said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The EU will also ban some pro-Kremlin media outlets, she said.
A woman clutches her hand to her mouth in a shelter in Mariupol - as Russian troops squeeze strategic ports in the country's south
People take shelter inside a building in Mariupol yesterday as children run and crawl underground as the Russians batter the city above
A shattered residential building, which locals said was damaged by recent shelling, in Mariupol on Saturday
A woman and a girl walk to a shelter during Russian shelling outside Mariupol after the invasion on Thursday
A child sleeps on a broken chair as Putin's forces try to take the southern port close to Crimea
Anna Zubenko, 60, who was wounded during a rocket attack, talks with her daughter in a hospital in Mariupol on Friday
A woman holds her sleeping child in a shelter during Russian shelling, in Mariupol on Thursday
Also, the 193-member U.N. General Assembly scheduled an emergency session Monday on Russia's invasion.
Putin, in giving the nuclear alert directive, cited not only statements by NATO members - who have rushed to reinforce the military alliance's members in Eastern Europe - but the hard-hitting financial sanctions imposed by the West against Russia, including Putin himself. He told his military chiefs to put nuclear forces in a 'special regime of combat duty.'
'Western countries aren't only taking unfriendly actions against our country in the economic sphere, but top officials from leading NATO members made aggressive statements regarding our country,' Putin said in televised comments.
U.S. defense officials would not disclose their current nuclear alert level except to say that the military is prepared all times to defend its homeland and allies.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told ABC that Putin is resorting to the pattern he used in the weeks before the invasion, 'which is to manufacture threats that don't exist in order to justify further aggression.'
The practical meaning of Putin's order was not immediately clear. Russia and the United States typically have land- and submarine-based nuclear forces on alert and prepared for combat at all times, but nuclear-capable bombers and other aircraft are not.
If Putin is arming or otherwise raising the nuclear combat readiness of his bombers, or if he is ordering more ballistic missile submarines to sea, then the United States might feel compelled to respond in kind, said Hans Kristensen, a nuclear analyst at the Federation of American Scientists. That would mark a worrisome escalation, he said.
Earlier Sunday, Kyiv was eerily quiet after huge explosions lit up the morning sky and authorities reported blasts at one of the airports. A main boulevard was practically deserted as a strict 39-hour curfew kept people off the streets. Authorities warned that anyone venturing out without a pass would be considered a Russian saboteur.
Terrified residents hunkered down in homes, underground garages and subway stations in anticipation of a full-scale Russian assault. Supplies of food and medicine were running low, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.
Authorities have been handing out weapons to anyone willing to defend the city. Ukraine is also releasing prisoners with military experience who want to fight, and training people to make firebombs.
'Right now, the most important question is to defend our country,' Klitschko said.
In downtown Kharkiv, 86-year-old Olena Dudnik said she and her husband were nearly thrown from their bed by the pressure blast of a nearby explosion.
'Every day there are street fights, even downtown,' with Ukrainian fighters trying to stop Russian tanks, armored vehicles and missile launchers, Dudnik said by phone. She said the lines at drugstores were hours long.
'We are suffering immensely,' she said. 'We don't have much food in the pantry, and I worry the stores aren't going to have anything either, if they reopen.' She added: 'I just want the shooting to stop, people to stop being killed.'
Pentagon officials said that Russian troops are being slowed by Ukrainian resistance, fuel shortages and other logistical problems, and that Ukraine's air defense systems, while weakened, are still operating.
But a senior U.S. defense official said that will probably change: 'We are in day four. The Russians will learn and adapt.'
A man helps a firefighter to extinguish a burning barn following Russian shelling outside outside Mariupol last week
Despite the barrage the sane Ukrainian then tried to re install a broken fence at his home
This man carried a dog away from his shattered property in the besieged city of Mariupol on Thursday
Smoke rise from an air defence base in the aftermath of a Russian strike in Mariupol
Damaged radar, a vehicle and equipment are seen at a Ukrainian military facility outside Mariupol on Thursday
Putin hasn't disclosed his ultimate plans, but Western officials believe he is determined to overthrow Ukraine's government and replace it with a regime of his own, reviving Moscow's Cold War-era influence.
The number of casualties from Europe's largest land conflict since World War II remained unclear amid the fog of war.
Ukraine's health minister reported Saturday that 198 people, including three children, had been killed and more than 1,000 others wounded. It was not clear whether those figures included both military and civilian casualties.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov gave no figures on Russia's dead and wounded Sunday but said his country's losses were 'many times' lower than Ukraine's.
The U.N. refugee agency said Sunday that about 368,000 Ukrainians have arrived in neighboring countries since the invasion started Thursday.
Over the weekend, the U.S. pledged an additional $350 million in military assistance to Ukraine, including anti-tank weapons and body armor. Germany said it would send missiles and anti-tank weapons.
The U.S., European Union and Britain also agreed to block selected Russian banks from the SWIFT system, which moves money around thousands of banks and other financial institutions worldwide. They also moved to slap restrictions on Russia's central bank.
Russia's economy has taken a pounding since the invasion, with the ruble plunging, the central bank calling for calm to avoid bank runs, and long lines forming at ATMs.
Putin sent forces into Ukraine after massing almost 200,000 troops along the country's borders. He claims the West has failed to take seriously Russia's security concerns about NATO, the Western military alliance that Ukraine aspires to join. But he has also expressed scorn about Ukraine's right to exist as an independent state.
Russia claims its assault on Ukraine is aimed only at military targets, but bridges, schools and residential neighborhoods have been hit.
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Horrific reality of Putin's Ukraine invasion in a single photo
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