Pregnant Woman Killed in Ukrainian Shelling of Russian Village

Pregnant woman and unborn child killed in Ukraine's drone strikes on Russian border region, as war's civilian toll escalates amid aid delays.

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Pregnant Woman Killed in Ukrainian Shelling of Russian Village

Pregnant Woman Killed in Ukrainian Shelling of Russian Village

On April 20, 2024, a pregnant woman and her unborn child were tragically killed when Ukrainian forces shelled the village of Novaya Tavolzhanka in Russia's Belgorod Oblast region near the Ukrainian border. The attack was part of a larger wave of drone strikes launched by Ukraine overnight targeting Russian energy infrastructure and fuel depots.

According to Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of the Belgorod region, four mortar rounds fired by Ukrainian troops struck the village, severely damaging a residential building and a barn. The pregnant woman succumbed to her wounds despite doctors' efforts to save both her and the child. Three other civilians in the village were also wounded in the shelling.

The Russian Defense Ministry reported that its air defenses shot down a total of 50 Ukrainian drones over eight Russian regions, including 26 over Belgorod. However, some of the drones still managed to cause fires, including at a fuel depot in the Smolensk region.

Why this matters: The deadly attacks on both sides of the Russia-Ukraine border, resulting in civilian casualties, underscore the ongoing human toll of the war as it extends into its third year. The incident also highlights Ukraine's increasing use of drone strikes to target Russian infrastructure in what it calls "fair" retaliation for Russia's attacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure.

Ukraine launched the barrage of drone attacks as it faces shortages of ammunition and weaponry, with Republicans in the U.S. Congress stalling further aid. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged that Ukraine will have "no chance of winning" unless aid from the U.S. resumes, as Russia has 10 times more artillery shells than Ukraine.

In response to the Ukrainian attacks, Russia launched strikes on residential buildings in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Vovchansk, killing two people and injuring two others. Each side accused the other of deadly attacks on civilians.

Governor Gladkov reported that the Ukrainian attacks damaged 11 municipalities in the Belgorod Region, including a multi-apartment house, 25 single-family houses, 10 passenger cars, a gas pipeline, a social facility, an agricultural enterprise, and a communications infrastructure facility. Ukraine has been pleading for more air defense systems from its Western allies to help fend off the surge in Russian attacks on its civilian infrastructure.

Key Takeaways

  • Pregnant woman and unborn child killed in Ukrainian shelling of Russian village
  • Ukraine launched drone strikes on Russian energy infrastructure, Russia shot down 50 drones
  • Ukraine faces ammunition shortages, seeks more U.S. aid as Russia has 10x more artillery
  • Russia launched strikes on Ukrainian city, both sides accused each other of civilian attacks
  • Ukrainian attacks damaged buildings, infrastructure in Belgorod region, Ukraine seeks more air defense