Ukrainian surgeons save child by torchlight amid blackouts so bad they are visible from space

Doctors wearing headlamps performed heart surgery on a child at a hospital in Kiev after a Russian missile strike on Ukrainian infrastructure knocked out power to the facility.

Power outages across the country are so severe they are visible on NASA images from space.

According to Borys Todurov, a heart surgeon at the Kiev Children’s Heart Hospital, surgery on a child was in progress when the electricity went out.

“The electricity has gone out. The surgeons are operating with their headlamps on,” Dr. Todurov said while filming the doctors.

“Try to finish it as soon as possible. We’re going to start the generator now.”

Illia Yemets, another surgeon at the hospital, later said the baby survived.

Ukraine is seen after dark on a grayscale satellite image indicating Europe's nocturnal emanation
The massive blackout in Ukraine is visible on satellite images showing nighttime radiation across Europe.(Reuters: NASA Worldview)

“I explained to the parents that we have a choice: do nothing and the baby will die, or give it a chance,” said Dr Yemets, who described the conditions as “the worst I’ve seen in my surgical life”.

Russian missiles rained down on Ukraine on Wednesday, knocking out electricity in the Kiev region, home to three million people, and elsewhere in the country.

At least 10 people were killed in attacks on energy facilities as Moscow continued its campaign to plunge Ukraine’s cities into darkness and cold as winter set in.

Since October, Russia has openly acknowledged targeting Ukraine’s civilian energy and heating systems with long-range missiles and drones.

Moscow says the goal is to reduce Kiev’s ability to fight and force it to negotiate. Ukraine says the attacks on infrastructure are war crimes.

A blackout visible from space

Nighttime satellite images released by NASA show most of Ukraine in darkness in November compared to neighboring countries in Europe.

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NASA satellite timelapse shows Ukraine in darkness.

The images, taken over the month, show the region’s surface in dark conditions.

City lights can be seen in detail daily in the images, which have been rendered in grayscale by NASA.

NASA used its Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the joint NASA/NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite, combined with a specialized imaging layer to reveal the extent of Ukraine’s eclipse.

Officials on the other side of the border in Moldova said more than half of their country also lost electricity, the first time a neighboring state has reported such extensive damage from the war in Ukraine caused by Russia’s invasion nine months ago.


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