People story


Story 35: Tetyana & Kira

Nearly 200 infants were born and cared for at Kherson Regional Children’s Hospital during the nine-month occupation of Kherson. As the Russians prepared to retreat from the city in November 2022, they intended to deport the babies during what they called an “evacuation.” However, the hospital staff was determined not to hand over the infants to the occupying forces. Employing clever tactics, they falsified medical records and created the illusion of babies being connected to ventilators. One nurse even adopted a newborn girl named Kira to protect her from forced deportation.

Tetyana, a nurse at Kherson Regional Children’s Hospital, was informed about the supposed evacuation of the infants. She had noticed individuals in the department showing an unusual interest in the babies beforehand. On one occasion, Tetyana visited the pathology department where she encountered the hospital management accompanied by Russian soldiers and two women, who were closely observing the children.

According to Tetyana’s account, these women selected several infants whom they claimed required medical treatment. “None of the children who were taken away have returned,” Tetyana revealed. “Among them were three infants aged 3, 6, and 9 months who were in the pediatric ward. They vanished from the hospital. They assured us they would receive professional care, but their current whereabouts remain unknown. These children were not from the orphanage.”

Upon arriving home from the hospital, Tetyana received a distressing phone call notifying her of an imminent deportation of the babies. Acting swiftly, she called a taxi and rushed to the pathology department to prevent Kira, a newborn for whom she cared from the beginning, from being taken away with the other orphans. Subsequently, Tetyana and her husband officially became Kira’s guardians through adoption, safeguarding the child from the forced deportation that the occupiers had planned.

Unfortunately, the fate of the other children from Kherson Regional Children’s Hospital, who were unable to be saved by the courageous nurses, took a different course. They were transported to temporarily occupied Crimea or Russia, where it is suspected they might be subjected to illegal adoption by Russian families.


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