Iconic pregnant woman from Mariupol speaks out, contradicts AP narrative

Mariana Vishegirskaya tells her story

Mariana Vishegirskaya is the pregnant woman outside a badly damaged maternity ward in Mariupol. Despite telling them not to take her picture, she was videotaped by AP employees Yevgeny Maloletka and Mstislav Chernov. Photo stills from this video were published worldwide. Vishegirskaya is also an Instagram model who posts make-up tips online.

The day after she was videotaped, she delivered a healthy baby via caesarean section at a different medical center. Sadly, she says the injured pregnant woman, who was photographed being carried, died along with the baby.

Several days later, Maloletka and Chernov alleged that they were placed on a “Russian hit list” and barely escaped the city without being murdered by Russian soldiers. They debunk their own claim by stating that they traveled through fifteen Russian army checkpoints after leaving Mariupol. On their official Twitter account, Azov Battalion stated that they protected Maloletka and Chernov and helped them escape Mariupol.

The AP claimed that a Russian airstrike hit the maternity ward and that it was purely a civilian target. Vishegirskaya contracts both of these claims. She says the Ukrainian army took over the hospital because it had solar panels, and they wanted to utilize them. She says that it was her belief and that of other people present that no airstrike took place. Instead, it was artillery that damaged the hospital.

While Vishegirskaya was at hospital number three, Dr. Hanna Halhovska, head of the Obstetrics Department at hospital number one, tells a similar story. She says that the Ukrainian army and Azov Battalion took over her hospital on February 27th and placed heavy military equipment near the hospital. Halhovska says that the Ukrainian military and Azov Battalion would fire artillery next to civilian infrastructure, which would cause retaliatory strikes. Recently, the Washington Post criticized the Ukrainian army for doing this.