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Ukraine Says Russian Strike Hit Maternity Ward

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Rescuers work at the site of a maternity ward of a hospital destroyed by a Russian missile attack, as their attack on Ukraine continues, in Vilniansk, Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, Nov. 23, 2022.

Ukrainian officials said Wednesday that overnight airstrikes by Russian forces hit a hospital maternity ward in southern Ukraine, killing a newborn baby and wounding its mother.

Authorities said the missile destroyed the two-story building in the city of Vilniansk in the Zaporizhzhia region.

The state emergency service said the baby's mother and a doctor were rescued from the rubble.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted on Telegram that Russia "continues to fight against civilians and civilian objects."

"The enemy has once again decided to try to achieve with terror and murder what he wasn't able to achieve for 9 months and won't be able to achieve. Instead, he will only be held to account for all the evil he brought to our country," Zelenskyy said.

The Ukrainian leader later welcomed a decision by the European Parliament to recognize Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism.”

The resolution approved by EU lawmakers Wednesday cited “deliberate attacks and atrocities carried out by the Russian Federation against the civilian population of Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.”

Monastery raid

Ukraine's security service said Tuesday it carried out a raid at a historic Russian Orthodox Christian monastery in Kyiv in order to counter suspected "subversive activities by Russian special services."

The highly unusual raid took place at the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, after a priest spoke favorably about Russia — Ukraine's invader — at a recent service.

Ukrainian authorities said the search was prompted by suspicions of possible Russian covert operations. The Russian Orthodox Church has strongly supported Russian President Vladimir Putin's nine-month invasion of Ukraine, while hundreds of Ukrainian Orthodox churches have cut their ties to the Moscow-governed branch of the church.

The Ukrainian counterintelligence and counter-terrorism service said its agents were searching buildings for any hidden weapons or foreign citizens and potential intelligence.

In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused Ukrainian authorities of "waging a war on the Russian Orthodox Church." He said the search was "another link in the chain of these aggressive actions against Russian Orthodoxy."

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, who heads the Russian Orthodox Church, has described Russia's invasion as a "metaphysical struggle" between Moscow and the West. He condemned Tuesday's search as "an act of intimidation."

The Ukrainian search follows a November 12 service at the Pechersk Lavra complex where a priest was filmed talking about the "awakening" of Russia. Songs praising the "Russian world" were sung.

At the time, the Ukrainian security chief, Vasyl Maliuk, said, "Those who, in the conditions of a full-scale war unleashed by Russia against Ukraine, are waiting for the 'awakening of Mother Rus' should understand that this harms the security and interests of Ukraine and our citizens. And we will not allow such manifestations."

Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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