Russia-Ukrainan War and children

For the people of good will, it is obvious that one mustn’t offend the little ones. This is something mothers usually teach their children, so they know not to mistreat others. But as it turned out, generally accepted moral standards are not followed by the soldiers of the Russian army. This is evidenced by their military strategy regarding the civilian population of Ukraine: murder, torture, rape and pillage.

Russia violated Ukrainian territorial borders, but above that – it crossed the moral lines, which are determined by international scope of humanitarian law. The number of crimes against humanity commited by them is growing every day. The most egregious of them – are crimes against children. Children have become a literal target for airstrikes and machine gun fire. Despite the word “CHILDREN” (“ДЕТИ” in Russian) was written in capital letters on the asphalt near drama theater in Mariupol – Russian soldiers still targeted it, killing more than 300 hiding civilians. Also, the word “Children” is often written on the cars of those trying to evacuate – yet they are still shot at by Russian soldiers.

As of September 8, 383 children died as a result of full-scale invasion and more than 742 have been injured, 239 were missing and 7420 were deported * – according to Prosecutor General of Ukraine. However this number is approximate, since many Ukrainian cities and villages are still occupied by Russian forces – and the number of dead and wounded is growing every day.

Most children were affected in the Donetsk (389), Kharkiv (205), Kyiv (116), Mykolaiv (72), Chernihiv (68), Luhansk (61), Kherson (55), Zaporizhzhya (46) and Dnipropetrovsk (26) regions.

* – confirmed figures

1. Weapon of War: Rape

The war crimes committed by the Russian military in different occupied territories of Ukraine have a common feature – rape.

“Rape is a weapon of war. Though we don’t yet know the full extent of its use in Ukraine it’s already clear it was part of Russian arsenal. Women raped in front of their kids, girls in front of their families, as a deliberate act of subjugation. Rape is a war crime” twitted British Ambassador in Ukraine Melinda Simmons.

At the moment, the exact number of rape victims is unknown for two reasons. Firstly, many of the victims are dead, and their bodies may still be in the occupied territories, so these crimes are not yet known to Ukrainian law enforcement officers. Secondly, not all victims can gather strength to tell about the crimes committed against them. Thus, the stories of those who are ready to talk about it often get into public access without names and surnames.

Stories of sexual atrocities are gathered in the office of the Chief Prosecutor Irina Venediktova, as well as in the office of the Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for Human Rights.

“We continue to uncover the wicked evils of sexual violence, including some minor ones. Such evildoings are documented throughout Ukraine – in the zone of combat operations and in quiet regions, as if they were or were rebuying under occupation. We have already installed three Russian military men, as if they are suspected of being guilty of mischief, and the first on the right went to court,” wrote Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova on her Facebook page.

Pramila Patten, Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict, testified at the UN Security Council meeting regarding the situation in Ukraine: “Since June, the human rights monitoring group of the Office of the UN High Commissioner has received reports of 124 cases of sexual violence related to the conflict , regarding women, girls, men and boys,” she said, noting that the majority of reports (56) were about women.

At the same time, Patten added, the available data represent only the tip of the iceberg and do not reflect the scale of sexual violence caused by Russia’s war against Ukraine. She emphasized that the number of reports of sexual violence is constantly increasing.

Russian Airborne Troops fighter raped a baby in Kyiv region

The fact was reported by the Ombudsman and the Ukrainian media, who managed to find out the name and surname of the Russian military man who committed this crime during the occupation of Kyiv region. The rapist, who introduced himself on camera as Aleksey Bychkov, filmed, as he himself said, a «hell of a video», which the paratrooper intentionally or accidentally sent to his colleagues. Although Bychkov has a page on Russian social network. He also posted videos of child abuse there. In the video, this soldier with sadistic pleasure rubs an eyelash brush between the baby’s buttocks, licks the brush and runs it over his face. On the recording, you can hear the baby starting to cry. On April 10, he was detained in Russia for a video with sexual abuse of a baby. Whether he will be tried for rape, and not for publishing the video, is unknown. Bychkov serves in military unit No. 64044 in the suburbs of Pskov. According to media reports, all military formations of the Pskov region are now fighting in Ukraine.


11-year-old boy was raped in front of his mother

An 11-year-old boy was raped in front of his mother, according to Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister Emine Dzhaparova who lashed out at Russia for its “most gruesome human rights violations”. In a tweet posted by the UK Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Emine Dzhaparova was pictured holding a drawing by the child who she says is still too traumatised to speak and only communicates using “black lines”.


More here:

2. I'm Gone: The Tragedies of Wartime Childhood

2.1 At the end of March, 300 pairs of Ukrainian shoes appeared near the famous memorial, created to honor the memory of Hungarian Jews killed by the Nazis in World War II, called "Shoes on the Danube". They died 77 years after the end of the terrible war at the hands of Russian pilots - the successors of those fascists who were destroyed many years ago by the efforts of the whole world.

2.2 On the afternoon of March 16, the Russian Air Force dropped a deadly bomb on the drama theater in the center of Mariupol. From the air, an inscription warning or begging for mercy was clearly visible in huge letters - "Children (ДЕТИ)"

About a thousand residents of the city, who lost their homes due to shelling by the occupiers, were hiding in that building. There were many small children among them. As a result of the rocket arrival many people died. Ukrainian mass media wrote about more than 300 killed women, children and old men. However the Ukrainian Mariupol government could not complete the rescue operation due to the incessant shelling of the city with various types of weapons. And at the end of May, the occupiers themselves dismantled the ruins of the theater and buried the dead in another nameless mass grave near Mariupol.

More here
2.3 Mother buried 13-year-old Elisey not far from Kyiv. The boy lived in an ancient village known since the 17th century, a village with a good name – Victory (Peremoga). For one and a half months, Russia tried to capture Kyiv, so a large number of cities and villages in the Kyiv region were occupied. This old village was not spared a similar fate. The occupation lasted from February 28 to March 30, 2022. On March 11, during the demand for evacuation from the village of Peremoga along the agreed "green" corridor, the occupiers shot a column of civilians, which consisted exclusively of women and children. As a result, 7 people died. Among them was Elisey.

At first, he walked with his mother and three-year-old brother, the boy pulled on a white T-shirt over his jacket, as a signal to the military that those were peaceful people in front of them. Then the family drove in a convoy of five cars. The Russians definitely saw that only women and children were in the cars. They even were waved at. And then the column... was shot at. According to the mother, the son was lying on the back seat "like a cat, curled up." After the shooting, the occupiers forced the remnants of the column to return to the village and did not let them out of the settlement.

2.4 12-year-old Ivan Met was buried in the yard of his home in Irpen (Kyiv region) with his mother. They died on March 5, possibly from mortar fire or from a tank shell when trying to evacuate from the occupied city.

2.5 On the same day, March 5, for 600 km from Irpen, two sisters were killed by shell fragments: 3-year-old Arina Butym and 17-year-old Veronika Biryukova, who lived with their parents in a village near Mykolaiv. “Veronica was warming food in the kitchen, Arina went out into the yard. Both for the youngest, and the eldest - there was no chance. The younger one died immediately, a fragment went through the heart, the older one had her heart started for two minutes, but it didn’t work after.. Their mother is in the hospital in Dubki, a fragment passed through her thigh, it hurt inside” – said the girls’ father.

On the photo: Three-year-old Arina Butym lies on the body of her seventeen-year-old sister Veronika Biryukova. Photo by Elena Kostyuchenko / Novaya Gazeta.

2.6 In April, in one of the occupied cities, the Russian military killed a young mother, tied a living child to her body, and attached a mine between them. When the child was detached from the mother's body, the mine detonated. All around died. This was told to Ukrainian journalists by the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov.

2.7 Mined houses, toys and household items are a characteristic feature of the Russian strategy for the destruction of the civilian population. For example, in Bucha, the Russians planted explosives in the piano. The attentiveness of the mother, who noticed that her daughter’s awards were not placed on the piano in the same way as before, saved the child from death.

2.8 On May 2, as a result of a rocket attack in Odessa, 15-year-old Vyacheslav Yalyshev was killed, who, at the first sounds of an air raid alarm, ran to a neighboring entrance to warn elderly neighbors about the danger and the need to go down into a bomb shelter.

2.9 Another teenager died in a rocket attack on Kharkov while helping to evacuate animals from the local zoo to safety.


After the start of a full-scale war, the first air raids and missile strikes, and the first civilian casualties – all of Ukraine asked the leading world powers to “close the sky” over Ukraine. This call was constantly heard from the lips of Ukrainian politicians, officials, journalists, singers, etc. In March of this year, the singer ROXOLANA released the English-language song “I`m Gone”, in which she addressed the world on behalf of the children who died during Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine.

Now when I’m gone

I wanna ask you “stop unholy war”

I wanna ask you “do you

Know what it was for?”

I wanna ask you if nobody can survive?

Will the whole world just be

Watching us all die?.

3. Khaki Dreams: Children Coping With War

All children need love, safety, parental home and dreams. War can take away parents, home, health and a sense of security, and the gentle, peaceful childhood dreams can be covered with black ashes. Therefore, children’s dreams in the war are different, they are about running from the bombs, saving the wounded, learning to walk again, or for mom and dad to be resurrected.

3.1 Liza Chernyshenko is 15 years old. She lived in one of the hot spots in the Lugansk region, in the city of Popasna, which is constantly shelled by Russian troops. When the girl was running away from the city, the car she was in was shot at and everyone, except for Lisa, was injured, especially the driver and another passenger. All needed to be rescued! In total, four wounded adults were in the car.

Lisa knew how to drive a car, so she decided to take the wounded out of the shelling through the mined roads to the neighboring city, located at a distance of 30 kilometers. The girl confesses that it was difficult for her to go around the numerous mines and corpses, but she managed. She was able to continue moving even when she herself was wounded during the next shelling. With a wound in her legs, a shot through her knee and a torn off finger, she brought her passengers to a safe place, where first aid was provided to everyone. All survived.

Source 1, Source 2
3.2 On April 8, 52 people were killed, including five children, as a result of rocket attacks by Russians on the railway station of Kramatorsk, Donetsk region. They were killed by cluster shells, on which was written "For the children of Donbass"!

“Mom, I’m dying,” Yana screamed. The projectile "For the Children of Donbass" tore off both legs of an 11-year-old girl and wounded her mother, while her the twin brother was not injured. Yana Stepanenko is looking forward to her prostheses and dreams of running again.

More here
3.3 Because of a shell fragment in her head, 10-year-old Veronica needs to learn how to walk again. She is the only survivor of her extended family, who died as a result of targeted tank fire on the shelter of a house in Vuhledar, Donetsk region. Father, grandmother, uncle and his wife were buried in the courtyard of the local church. The girl was found under the rubble by the neighbors, they say that, probably, the adults at the last moment covered the child with themselves. In addition to a fragment of a shell in her head, the thumb of her left hand was torn off, and her right hand was partially paralyzed.

3.4 6-year-old Milana constantly writes "letters to Heaven" to her mother. A Russian missile hit their house near Gostomel (Kyiv region), killed the mother in front of the child and injured the child’s legs.

3.5 Vova, 13, came under fire in Kyiv as their family tried to evacuate. The boy's father and his 6-year-old brother died on the spot. Vova received a gunshot wound to the right half of his face, bullets also hit his back. The boy was saved by the doctors.

3.6 In front of 14-year-old Yura from Bucha, a Russian soldier shot his father dead. They were riding their bikes for food and medicine when they were stopped by a Russian. He wounded the boy in the arm, shot him in the head, but the bullet went through the hood of the jacket without hitting his head. The father was buried in the courtyard of their house.

3.7 Ukrainians are well aware that they may be killed at any moment and they try to flee from the war. However even in times of fleeing, mothers hope that they will have time to cover their children in case of shelling, thereby saving their lives. In desperation, they write on the bodies of their children their names, addresses and phone numbers of the relatives, if the little ones find themselves alone in this war.

Two-year-old Vera Makovij has necessary information written on her back by her mother before the evacuation. “Vera is fine. She is too small to understand what is happening,” Sasha Makoviy, who has found refuge in France, told BBC journalists.

Source 1, Source 2
3.8 The footage of a Ukrainian boy crying at the Polish checkpoint Medyka (Medica) touched the world. In the video, a tired boy of five years old walks alone among people and cries loudly. He is warmly dressed, holding a bag with a toy and something sweet in his hands.

The video was published by almost all Western media. After that, the boy became the hero of drawings about the realities of the war in Ukraine. For example, the drawing by the Georgian artist Nancy Woland that became famous. On the poster, a child carries hope in a bag with the background of the harvest and the starry sky in the colors of the flag of Ukraine.

Source 1, Source 2
3.9 Also widely known is the the story of an 11-year-old boy who by himself came from Zaporizhzhia (south-eastern Ukraine) to the Ukrainian-Slovak checkpoint (western Ukraine), because the boy's parents were forced to stay in Ukraine. The child crossed the border with only his passport in a plastic bag and a phone number written with a ballpoint pen on his hand. He met his relatives in Slovakia.

Source 1, Source 2

4. Inheriting Stalin: Filtration Camps and Forced Deportations of Children

The idea of ​​“denazification and demilitarization” of Ukrainians is not new and was not born in the head of the current ruler of Russia. 75 years ago, from the west of Ukraine to Siberia and Kazakhstan, Stalin evicted 79 thousand Ukrainians, 35 thousand of them were women, 24 thousand were children. The deportation was part of a consistent strategy for the destruction of Ukrainians as a national community, which was carried out by the Soviet authorities through the Holodomors, the Executed Renaissance and the total Russification of the people and their elites.

On May 31, 2022, Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova reported during her visit to The Hague that Ukrainian law enforcement officers open 200-300 criminal cases on war crimes every day. Approximately 600 suspects have already been identified, 80 of them are already being prosecuted. The suspects are the top military and political leadership, Russian propaganda agents, and others involved.

Some of the criminal cases have been filed against the events in the east of the country, where fierce fighting between the Ukrainian and Russian military is currently ongoing. Prosecutors are investigatingforced deportation of people, including children, to different parts of Russia. Due to ongoing hostilities, investigating crimes is sometimes difficult, however investigators managed to interview evacuated Ukrainians and released prisoners of war.

4.1 When the full-scale war began on February 24, 10-year-old Ilya Matvienko from Mariupol, together with his mother Natalya, hid from shelling and bombing, first in the apartment, and then in the basement of the house. One day they ran to the neighbors and came under fire. The mother was injured in the head, and the child's leg was torn off. The woman on herself pulled her son to her friends and there she died in his arms. The next day after the death of his mother, the Russian military took the wounded boy to occupied Donetsk. Ilya's grandmother, who lives in Kyiv, was able to later take him to the capital of Ukraine. Such stories of deportation are not isolated, but only a few end up returning to Ukraine

4.2 19-year-old Nadezhda Savenko, whose parents died in Mariupol, was taken out of the city by the Russian military to the territory of the fake republic of the DPR. After she passed the filtration camp, she was sent to Russia. From there she was helped to go to Romania to a relative. In Mariupol, the girl left her grandfather and grandmother.

On the photo: Nadia Savenko (right) with her mother

4.3 All those disloyal to the Russian invaders and the “special operation” are sent to prisons located in ORDLO (the uncontrolled by Ukrainian authorities territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions) or killed. The number of Ukrainians who went missing in this way and their fate cannot yet be reliably established. So, for example, only in mid-May it became known about the fate of a young woman, the mother of a 4-year-old girl Alisa, a military doctor of the Mariupol garrison, that was separated from her daughter while trying to evacuate from the territory of the Azovstal plant in early May of this year. As a result, the child arrived in Zaporozhye alone, and the mother was sent to one of the “filtration camps” on the territory of the so-called DNR. Victoria Obidina is in Donetsk in a POW camp.


Daria Gerasimchuk, the President’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights and Children’s Rehabilitation, said that according to data from open sources, as of June 1, 2022, more than 234,000 children crossed the border towards Russia and the ORDLO (the uncontrolled by Ukrainian authorities territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions). Among them are about 2 thousand orphans and children deprived of parental care. These are forcibly deported, forcibly relocated children either to temporarily occupied territories, or to the Russian Federation, or to the Republic of Belarus. Gerasimchuk emphasized that such actions are illegal, prohibited by the Geneva Convention, international law, and Ukraine will fight for every child.

According to the commissioner for children’s rights, currently more than 7.5 million Ukrainian children are suffering from war, and it is not only about physical injuries. It is about a violation of the psychological, psycho-emotional state, and an absolute violation of all the rights of the child. “The actions taken by the Russian Federation in relation to Ukrainian children have all the signs of genocide of the Ukrainian people,” Gerasimchuk emphasized.

And what awaits the deported Ukrainians on the territory of Russia? The union of “fraternal nations” and a well-fed, well-arranged life in any Russian city? By no means. Do not forget that deportation is not a charity, but a punitive action.

This is confirmed by the telephone conversation intercepted by the Security Service of Ukraine of a Russian military man in Ukraine – with his wife. Yulia Kopytova complains to her husband Yury about the Ukrainian children brought to Russia who do not want to celebrate May 9, a sacred day of victory for Russians. The children explain this as a difference in values ​​and insist that “this is not their holiday”. The woman describes in detail to her husband-occupier how she would punish them for this if she could. In particular, “I would inject them with drugs” and “carve stars on their backs”.

Another tactic Russia uses against Ukrainian children – is to separate them from their culture. Occupiers aim to destroy historical memory and the national identity of the child, as well as to adapt them to the Russian school curriculum in the occupied territories, including Mariupol in the new school year. The plan is to teach these three subjects: “Russian language and literature”, “History of the Fatherland” (Russian) and “Mathematics”.

5. The Story of The War as Told by The Children

5.1 This short poem was written by 6-year-old Lyova, who spent almost 3 months in the basements of the besieged Mariupol.

Adults and children know what it means:
if Grey dog barks – the rockets fly to kill.

"Grey" (“Seryy”) is the name of boy's dog.

5.2 The name of the second 8-year-old little Mariupol boy, who wrote down the events and his experiences in the diary is – Yegor. The boy's diary was published by a Mariupol photographer here.

Yegor says that he is 8 years old, his sister is 15, and his mother is 38, and she needs bandages. "My grandfather also died. I have a wound on my back, torn skin. The sister has a head injury. My mother had "meat on her arm" ripped out and a wound on her leg." And on the last page, the boy reports that his "2 dogs, grandmother Galya and the beloved city of Mariupol have died"

Source 1, Source 2
5.3 "I don't want to be where wolves howl" – said a three-year-old girl hearing the wailing of the sirens and rockets that keep her awake at night. She and her mother Anya were evacuated from a small town in the Kharkiv region when they were under occupation for a long time.

At night the child often wakes up and cries a lot. When she draws, she chooses only dark colours. And she is constantly afraid to hear "wolves" again - so she doesn't leave mother for a minute.


…and also, children ask “military” questions. For example, such:

  • Mom, if our house is bombed, will it be possible to get my lego out of there?
  • Mom, you said that children’s dreams should come true, but mine no longer come true, so am I already an adult?
  • Mom, how many more bombs does he have?
  • If the war lasts long, will papa not forget us?

«Never again» or «Let’s do it again»?

Many people in the post-Soviet space know the entries from the diary of Tana Savicheva, a little girl from besieged Leningrad during WWII. Almost all of her family died during the blockade period from December 1941 to May 1942. Her diary has nine filled pages, six of which contain the dates of death of close people — her mother, grandmother, sister, brother, and two uncles. On the last pages she wrote: “All died. Only Tanya remained.” The girl died completely blind during the evacuation on July 1, 1944 at the age of 14 from scurvy, dystrophy and nervous exhaustion. Russian propaganda made her diary a symbol of the horrors of that war.

“We can do it again!” – shout Russians every year on May 9 remembering the 2nd World War. “Indeed, you’ve done it again” – could say the little Ukrainians from the basements of the besieged Mariupol. How hypocritically and meanly Russia is acting today, calling itself “liberators” and dooming the Ukrainian children of the XXI century to all the horrors that they themselves experienced in the XX century.

It is worth understanding that the current war between Russia and Ukraine is not an internal conflict of the post-Soviet republics, it is a war of civilizations: the Western one, based on Christian values, and the barbarian one, which is only covered by pseudo-spirituality, like a wolf that hides its essence under the skin of a sheep. In the war of civilizational values, the human right to life, freedom, justice, happiness and the right of nations – to self-determination in general and the right of Ukrainians to return to the European family, in particular – must win. The famous motto “Never again” gives Ukrainians hope that the world really does not want a repeat of the tragedy of World War II and has the strength and desire to prevent it, taking into account the lessons of the past years. So the children may have the childhood of dreams – and not of painful memories.

War Crimes of Russia in Ukraine

Among the crimes committed by the Russian army are crimes against prisoners of war, civilians and the civilian infrastructure. Hereafter is a list of recorded crimes and the links to find out more about each of them.

Historical and Spiritual Background of War

Throughout history all Ukrainian cherished freedom and the opportunity to live in their own State. They fought for it, they died for it, they wrote songs about it. In modern historiography, a name has not yet been invented for this war. But one thing is clear - this is a war for values, a war for truth. That is why there are so many examples of the heroism of the entire Ukrainian nation in this war

Testimonies of God’s Power and Mercy over Ukraine

In the midst of war, people often become witnesses of God’s miracles. As many Ukrainians face life-or-death situations on a daily basis, every act of God’s intervention or an answered prayer – quickly becomes a faith-building testimony for the many. The total amount of the miracles would be hard to count, yet some can be presented.

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