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Ukrainian teen who was found alive in wreckage of flats bombed by Russia faces battle to survive

A Ukrainian teenager who was found alive amongst the rubble of an apartment building destroyed by a Russian missile strike on her 19th birthday is now fighting for her life in hospital after she lost an eye in the bombing.

Anna Kotova was pulled from the wreckage by firefighters who were combing the destroyed building for survivors after the deadly strike in the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro on Saturday.

Kotova, who had been celebrating her 19th birthday when the missile struck her apartment building, suffered a series of horrific injuries and is being treated in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Dnipro where doctors removed her eye. 

A harrowing photograph shows Kotova lying in a hospital bed – her face now unrecognisable from the cuts and burns that cover her features. 

The rest of her body, including her neck, chest and head are covered in bandages as doctors try to stem any risk of infection. 

Anna Kotova (pictured) was pulled from the wreckage by firefighters who were combing the destroyed building for survivors after the deadly strike in the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro on Saturday

Harrowing pictures show Kotova lying in a hospital bed - her face now unrecognisable from the cuts and burns that cover her features

Harrowing pictures show Kotova lying in a hospital bed – her face now unrecognisable from the cuts and burns that cover her features

Rescuers of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine operate at the site of a missile strike in Dnipro on January 15

Rescuers of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine operate at the site of a missile strike in Dnipro on January 15

Kovota, who posted pictures and video of herself smiling in a pale blue prom dress on Instagram just months ago, now faces months of recovery and will be transferred to another hospital in Poland for life-saving treatment.

It comes as rescuers said they had called off searches at the apartment building where 44 people, including five children, were killed and 79 injured. The emergency services said 20 people are still unaccounted for following the devastating missile strike.

Kovota’s friend, Tatiana, said the 19-year-old had suffered serious injuries in the blast.

Tatiana wrote on Instagram: ‘My friend Anna Kotova miraculously survived. She was celebrating her 19th birthday that day, but was severely injured in the Russian attack.

‘While saving her life, doctors could not save one eye and removed it. The other eye will have to be fought for after her underlying condition stabilises, she also has multiple wounds and a head injury.’

Kovota’s condition is described as ‘severe’ but reports say she will be moved to Poland for treatment and can see from her other eye.

Kovota, who posted pictures of herself smiling in a pale blue prom dress on Instagram just months ago, now faces months of recovery and will be transferred to another hospital in Poland for life-saving treatment

Kovota, who posted pictures of herself smiling in a pale blue prom dress on Instagram just months ago, now faces months of recovery and will be transferred to another hospital in Poland for life-saving treatment

Kotova, who had been celebrating her 19th birthday when the missile struck her apartment building, suffered a series of horrific injuries and is being treated in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Dnipro where doctors removed her eye

Kotova, who had been celebrating her 19th birthday when the missile struck her apartment building, suffered a series of horrific injuries and is being treated in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Dnipro where doctors removed her eye

Kovota had moved to Dnipro after fleeing from the Luhask region in an effort to escape the Russian soldiers. She graduated last year from a school in the city of Severodonetsk in the Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine.

Her friends are now trying to raise funds for her medical treatment. 

Head of Luhansk region Serhiy Haidai said: ‘A 19-year-old student from the Luhansk region is among the victims of the Dnipro tragedy.

‘Now Anna is in the Dnipro hospital in intensive care. Her condition is severe.

‘Now it’s up to the doctors. The girl is getting all the help she needs.’

Haidai added that more than 300 people came to donate blood to the victims in the first two days after the tragedy in Dnipro.

It comes as rescuers said they had called off searches at the apartment building where 44 people, including five children, were killed and 79 injured. Pictured: Rescue workers carry the body of a man who was killed in the missile strike in Dnipro on Monday

It comes as rescuers said they had called off searches at the apartment building where 44 people, including five children, were killed and 79 injured. Pictured: Rescue workers carry the body of a man who was killed in the missile strike in Dnipro on Monday

Rescuers search for missing residents after Russian forces bombed a residential building on January 15 in Dnipro

Rescuers search for missing residents after Russian forces bombed a residential building on January 15 in Dnipro

During an extensive search and rescue mission, which has now been called off, emergency crews cleared 9 metric tons of rubble.

Some 400 people lost their homes, with 72 apartments completely ruined and another 236 damaged beyond repair following the attack. 

It comes as a heartbreaking video emerged showing a Ukrainian father celebrating a birthday party with his daughters before he was killed in the Russian missile strike.

Photographs show a huge hole in the side of the apartment building, revealing the family’s yellow kitchen inside.

The same distinctive kitchen could be seen in the footage from the birthday party, in which well-known Ukrainian boxing coach Mikhailo Korenovsky, 39, celebrated the birthday of one of his children with his close-knit family.

A heartbreaking video has shown a Ukrainian father celebrating a birthday party with his daughters before he was killed in a brutal Russian rocket attack. Photographs showing the damage to their building have gone viral, with a huge blast hole in the side of the apartment block revealing the family's distinctive yellow kitchen inside (pictured)

A heartbreaking video has shown a Ukrainian father celebrating a birthday party with his daughters before he was killed in a brutal Russian rocket attack. Photographs showing the damage to their building have gone viral, with a huge blast hole in the side of the apartment block revealing the family’s distinctive yellow kitchen inside (pictured)

The same distinctive kitchen could be seen in footage from a birthday party, in which well-known Ukrainian boxing coach Mikhailo Korenovsky (pictured with his daughters), 39, celebrated the birthday of one of his children with his close-knit family

The same distinctive kitchen could be seen in footage from a birthday party, in which well-known Ukrainian boxing coach Mikhailo Korenovsky (pictured with his daughters), 39, celebrated the birthday of one of his children with his close-knit family

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed to bring those responsible for the strike to justice, saying it’s ‘a fundamental task’ for Ukraine and its Western allies.

‘This strike at Dnipro, as well as other similar strikes, falls, in particular, under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court,’ he said in a video address late Monday.

‘And we will use all available opportunities – both national and international – to ensure that all Russian murderers, everyone who gives and executes orders on missile terror against our people, face legal sentences. And to ensure that they serve their punishment,’ he said.

The U.K. Defense Ministry said Tuesday that the weekend barrage of long-range missiles, the first of its kind in two weeks, targeted Ukraine’s power grid.

The ministry noted that the Kh-22 ‘is notoriously inaccurate when used against ground targets as its radar guidance system is poor at differentiating targets in urban areas,’ suggesting that might have been a factor in the deaths in the Dnipro.

Similar missiles were used in other incidents that caused high civilian casualties, it said, including a strike on a shopping mall in Ukraine’s central city of Kremenchuk in June that officials said killed more than 20 people.

The deadliest attack involving civilians before Saturday was an April 9 strike on a train station in the eastern city of Kramatorsk that left at least 52 people dead, according to The Associated Press-Frontline War Crimes Watch project.

Such incidents have helped stiffen international support for Ukraine as it battles to fend off the Kremlin’s invasion. The winter has brought a slowdown in fighting, but military analysts say a new push by both sides is likely once the weather improves.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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