Dozens of babies trapped in Ukraine bomb shelter

Twenty babies, some just a few days old, will likely not see much of the sun until the war ends

By Kelly McClure

Nights & Weekends Editor

Published March 20, 2022 11:22AM (EDT)


Twenty babies, some born just days ago, are being sheltered in a makeshift bomb shelter in a basement in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv.

According to AP News, the babies were born to surrogate mothers and are being kept as calm and safe as possible until Russian attacks against Ukraine end and their intended parents can safely travel to pick them up and bring them to their new homes.

Related: Ukrainian children are suffering amid the invasion. A psychological toll will follow

Although sheltered underground, the sound of bombs and gunfire is still making its way down into the makeshift shelter while the surrogacy center's nurses, also trapped, do their best to create some form of stability for the babies who have never known anything other than war in their new lives.

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"Now we are staying here to preserve our and the babies' lives," said Lyudmilia Yashchenko, a 51-year-old nurse in a quote used by AP News "We are hiding here from the bombing and this horrible misery."

According to Yashchenko, the nurses caring for the babies take them out of the bomb shelter to get some sun and fresh air whenever possible, but they can never stay out for very long due to the high level of danger around them.

"We are almost not sleeping at all," Yashchenko said. "We are working round the clock."

The intended parents of the babies will, when able, make their way from Europe, Latin America and China, but it doesn't seem like they'll be able to do so any time soon. 

For now AP News reports that the shelter is equipped with plenty of food and baby supplies, and the nurses hold on to hope that peace will come soon.

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By Kelly McClure

Kelly McClure is a journalist and fiction writer who lives in New Orleans. She is Salon's Nights and Weekends Editor covering daily news, politics and culture. Her work has been featured in Vulture, The A.V. Club, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Vice, and elsewhere. She is the author of Something is Always Happening Somewhere.

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