Iconic Mariupol Maternity Photograph Wins World Press Photo Award
It was one of the most striking photographs since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with a tragic postscript. A year later, it has been chosen as World Press Photo of the Year award.
This article was updated at 12:15 p.m. local time on April 21, 2023
It was 16 days after the start of the invasion of Ukraine, when a Russian air raid struck a maternity hospital in the southern city of Mariupol, a shocking attack that international organizations would later determine was a war crime.
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Associated Press photographer Evgeniy Maloletka was on the scene, capturing a powerful image of one of the wounded pregnant mothers-to-be. On Thursday, the image was awarded the World Press Photo of the Year prize.
In March 2022, the killing of civilians was multiplying across the country, notably in the besieged port city of Mariupol. Maloletka, a veteran Ukrainian photographer, was one of the very few documenting events in the city at that time.
On March 9, after the Russian air raid struck the Mariupol maternity hospital ward, the AP photographer was on the scene, capturing a series of horrific images, including one showing a wounded pregnant woman being carried by emergency workers through the shattered grounds of the hospital.
The 32-year-old woman named Iryna Kalinina would later die of her injuries, half an hour after giving birth to her stillborn son, named Miron, after the Ukrainian word for peace.
The World Press Photo jury declared that this image “captures the absurdity and horror of war” and that “it is an accurate representation of the year's events and evidence of the war crimes being committed against Ukrainian civilians by Russian forces.”
Here below is a short "This Happened" video of the image, produced by Worldcrunch the week the photo was taken:
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