It is frightening to imagine, but it is a fact: Russian occupiers have killed more than 100 Ukrainian children in three weeks of the war. One Ukrainian child becomes a refugee every minute. According to UNICEF, a million and a half young Ukrainians have sought refuge outside their homeland, including their mothers.
One of them is eleven-year-old Misha. Since he was born, he has lived near Mykolaiv in the house his parents built. This house for their family has been the epitome of happiness, peace and protection from all adversity. And even if misfortunes happened, they were quickly forgotten because his family was there – his mother and father.
Misha went to school, joined a sports club and had remarkable achievements.
Six months ago, mum gave birth to a daughter named Miroslava. It would seem, live and not grieve! Watching favourite cartoons, playing with your little sister, training, performing at competitions, playing with friends in the yard… But the war crossed everything out.
– We lived through very frightening days, – says Tatiana, the boy’s mother. We lived near the Kulbakino airfield, and the bombing hit our neighbourhood hardest. We managed to get away, ran to my mother’s village 100 km away. It took us nine hours to get there. And then the fighting for Voznesensk started. We were sitting in a cellar here. We were bombarded with cruise missiles from the estuary. We could not go back to Mykolaiv because the Novoodessk bridge had been blown up. And we could not get to Odessa by railway because the railway bridge had been blown up. Finally, we found a kind man who drove us to Odessa by car for 700 dollars (100 kilometres). An acquaintance of mine met us at the entrance to the city and took us to the train station. We left our suitcase at the station because there were so many people and it became redundant. We took only a rucksack with medicine and food.
We took the train to Lviv. There were a few days in the shelter because our daughter got sick and had a fever. The local volunteers helped us a lot. Holy people live in Lviv! Then we took a bus to Warsaw. A girl I knew, my virtual friend Anya, took us to a village near Bydgosz and let us stay with her for a while. We met on Facebook a few days before the war. She didn’t volunteer, she just felt sorry for us, and then it turned out that there were many people like us, and she helped us in every way she could.
My husband is at war; they even wrote about him in the New York Times – an American journalist came to visit us. My son’s coach is defending Mariupol.
I still can’t believe that we were able to leave, and, thank God, we made it. Now I take a lot of calming medication. When we left the village, my friend wrote that all that was left of the houses was a pile of rubbish.
Whenever she has a spare moment, Tetyana searches the Internet for news about Ukraine. She says she was in tears when she read about the brave Maksymka from Boryspil who reached the Ukrainian fighters on foot at night and asked to join the territorial defence. This story was told on the official TRS Boryspil page by volunteer Alexey Kovtun. He says that even the grown men were amazed by the fifth-grader’s conduct.
– He came to fight! He came to help the army! To defend his family, his land and his town! – the soldier says and asks his mother not to scold Maksim because he is a hero.
You can imagine what it was like for her to wake up in the morning and not find her son at home. But this action of the eleven-year-old can indeed be called heroic, for he showed indestructible fortitude and a will to victory.
Meanwhile, Russian war criminals are ceaselessly shelling schools, hospitals, churches, and convoys of civilians in full view of the whole world.
The European Union reacted to the shelling of a maternity hospital in Mariupol, which the Russians cynically call a “Nazi military base,” with a statement by EU High Representative Josep Borrel and European Commissioner Janez Lenarčič. Also, the international community condemned the shameful bombing of the Mariupol Drama Theatre, where more than a thousand women and children were hiding in a shelter.
But an interesting detail: the Russian military was not stopped by the inscription “Children” in capital letters on either side of the theatre building.
Military journalist Oz Katerjee, who covers conflicts, including the so-called special operation in Syria, has his own explanation for the phenomenon. According to him, such inscriptions and facilities are the primary targets for the Russians, who are primarily targeting kindergartens, maternity hospitals, schools and hospitals.
– I hope Ukrainians will quickly learn the lessons the Syrians learned in their confrontation with Russia. Never divulge the location of women’s and children’s shelters, field hospitals or bakeries. Russia will strike there first. Do not disclose such places to the UN. Russia will get access to them and will strike there first,” he advises in one of his tweets.
So you have to understand: Ukraine is dealing with terrorists for whom there are no rules, no international conventions and no elementary scruples. But no matter how insidious the enemy is, he will not succeed in overcoming the Ukrainians’ resistance.