Children in Ukraine are no longer children; despite their young age they have seen and experienced situations that most adults in the world have not. Ukrainian children now know what a missile is, they have seen their mothers raped by Russian soldiers, and many others have witnessed firsthand the death of their loved ones.
Dozens of heartbreaking images are circulating on social networks and leave evidence of the atrocious suffering faced by children in a country at war. Their lives were changed overnight, leaving the innocence of childhood behind.
The number of children killed in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion has risen to 165, as reported this Tuesday, April 5, by the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office through its Telegram account.
Along with the fatalities, at least 265 injured minors have also been counted, although the statement warns that this is an estimate, conditioned by the difficulties of assessment in the areas occupied by Russian troops in the Donbas, Mariupol, or other already liberated areas of the Kyiv region.
While the Western world imposes sanctions on Russia, Vladimir Putin continues to commit war crimes without anyone stopping him; meanwhile the number of victims is increasing and the number of children suffering from the onslaught of war is skyrocketing.
Ukrainian mothers mark their children on their backs
A Ukrainian mother was forced to mark her daughter on her back for fear that the minor would be left alone if she dies in the middle of the conflict. The image was published by Aleksandra Mako, who explains that in the photo, her daughter “Vera” is showing her back.
“I signed it with my hands shaking a lot” assures the young mother in Ukrainian, “I marked Vera in case something happened to us, and someone picked her up as a survivor,” she related.
Children in Ukraine learn to differentiate between toys and explosives
For mothers to mark their children in the midst of war not only shows the pain and worry they are suffering, it also shows that they are doing the impossible to keep their little ones alive.
A recent CNN report revealed that children in Ukraine are being taught to tell the difference between a toy and an explosive.
At a subway station in Kharkiv, Julia Gorlenko was teaching a group of minors what a toy looks like and what a war munition looks like.
“These are objects that we see in our daily lives,” said Julia Gorlenko of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine. “They are bright and colorful, but they can also be dangerous.”
Gorlenko pointed to a model of a munition that a child could easily mistake for a toy and said, “This one can blow off your head, a hand or a leg.”
Children also witness the death of their mothers
Another heartbreaking image revealing how Ukrainian children are suffering the ravages of war was published by the Ukrainian Defense; it shows a child saying goodbye to his mother after she had been buried in the courtyard of their home.
The images speak for themselves and are a reflection of the suffering being endured by Ukrainian children who not only have to deal with living in a shelter, but also have to face what it means to live in a country at war.