Just minutes old, baby Katya is unaware of the joy and solace she has bought.
She was born in Mykolaiv, a Ukrainian port city on the Black Sea that has been under attack from Russian forces.
Katya’s mother, Tamara Kravchuk, is a 37-year-old gas station worker.
The desperation and anxiety that dominated her thoughts before Katya’s birth are gone – for now.
“No matter what happens now – I’m the happiest person, I feel totally fine. I just feel happiness because my daughter is healthy. God bless, there will be peace.”
Russian troops tried to enter the city on March 4 but were met with fierce resistance.
The city has been subject to intermittent shelling. Just one day before Katya’s birth, a psychiatric hospital only a few buildings down from the maternity hospital, was hit.
There is no bomb shelter or basement at the maternity hospital. When the air raid sirens sound, people shelter in corridors or on the ground floor.
Valentin Podaranchuk is the head of the maternity ward.
He said the war brought a wave of new births in Mykolaiv, as women went into labor induced by stress.
Katya is the 49th baby to be born there since Russia launched its invasion on February 24.
Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” that it says is not designed to occupy territory but to destroy its southern neighbor’s military capabilities and capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists.
As fighting continues, Podaranchuck said Katya’s arrival has given everyone at the hospital a reason to be hopeful.
“For us, it’s, if I can say in slang, ‘bliss’. A new life is born, despite all the horrors happening around. That’s why we still have hope; today a new little girl came into our world. We think when girls start to be born it means that war will end soon.”