Olga, a 27-year-old Ukrainian woman seriously wounded while sheltering her baby from shrapnel blasts in Kyiv, recalled the shock as she saw blood covering her child after a missile strike that shattered glass across the room.
“I was wounded in the head, and blood started flowing. And it all flowed on the baby,” said Olga, sitting on a bed at the Okhmatdyt Children’s hospital where she was being treated.
“I couldn’t understand, I thought it was her blood.”
Photographs of Olga, her head bandaged and her upper body covered in cuts as she holds her baby, Victoria, have featured widely on social media, in an image encapsulating the heavy toll being paid by civilians in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
As Victoria’s father Dmytro took the girl, Olga said she began screaming that her daughter had been cut.
“Olga, it’s your blood, it’s not hers,” she recalls Dmytro responding.
Ukrainian authorities say at least 60 civilians have been killed in Kyiv since Russia launched what it calls a “special military operation” on 24 February several in missile strikes on residential buildings.
Olga, who did not share her family name, said she had woken up to feed the six-week-old baby and had already covered her with a blanket to keep her warm when the missile strike occurred.
“And that’s what kept the baby alive. I just got her covered in time. And then Dmytro jumped up and covered us, too.”
Olga is being treated for multiple cuts to the head and body but the baby was unharmed apart from a scratch and some bruises.
“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, who was woken by the sound of shattering glass, added.