Russia is waging a bloody war against Ukrainian children
13-year-old Dima (Dmytro) Kubata was killed by the Russians on 20 July while he stood at a bus stop in Saltivka, in the north-east of Kharkiv. His 15-year-old sister Ksenia was also hit in the Russian strike that killed three, and is in hospital with grave injuries. The children's father kneeled in the street for some two hours, praying and holding his lifeless son’s hand. The Russians are indeed, as Ihor Syniehubov, Governor of the Kharkiv oblast, wrote, “waging real terror. They don’t have success on the front so all that remains is to “wage war’ against defenceless children”.
Children are, according to international law and any standards of humanity, a particularly vulnerable group in need of protection. As of 20 July, Russia had caused the violent death of at least 353 children and injured 679, with many losing one or more limbs. On 1 June this year, “UNICEF reported that at least two children are killed and more than four injured every day, with most of the deaths linked with bombing and shelling of populated areas. These figures do not include the number of children who have been orphaned, or traumatized by the violence and death they witnessed, or girls as young as 14 who are reported to have been held prisoner and gang-raped by Russian soldiers.
In its second report since Russia began its total invasion, OSCE reported that children have also been used as “as human shields by the Russian armed forces. Despite their proximity to the battlefield, in Volnovakha, students were purportedly forced by the Russian military to return to their classes at the local school in Volnovakha on 11 April 2020.”
According to Rostislav Smirnov, Adviser to the Interior Minister, kindergartens throughout Ukraine are being advised to have their rest area underground, given the real threat of Russian missile attacks. Russia has damaged well over two thousand schools and other educational institutions, with 221 totally destroyed. There has also been massive damage to medical facilities. The OSCE report notes the number of times that children were killed when cars trying to flee the invaders were shelled, despite clear indication on the vehicles that they were carrying children. The same was true of the Drama Theatre in Mariupol which was bombed on 16 March, although the Russian pilot would have seen the words ‘CHILDREN’ written in Russian both in front of and behind the building where around a thousand civilians, mostly women with children and the elderly were trying to escape the bombs. Among the 600 believed to have been killed must have been very many children. It is, in fact, likely that the mass graves that the Russians are known to have dug close to Mariupol contain the bodies of children, killed in the bombing of apartment blocks and other residential buildings.
Russia continues, against all evidence, to deny that it is targeting civilians. When unable to deny that it hit the centre of Vinnytsia, the Kremenchuk shopping centre, or the maternity hospital in Mariupol, it claims that these were being used as some kind of military capacity. Why should it care if the latest OSCE report, or that from the Council of Europe’s Commissioner on Human Rights expose the lies? You face arrest in Russia and occupied Crimea for circulating the truth about such crimes, and Russia is currently concentrating its efforts on imposing the same draconian methods and propaganda in parts of Ukraine that it is occupying. While the West continues financing Russia’s war effort through oil and gas sales, refuses to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine and provides a lot, but by no means enough, weapons, Moscow has no need to end this barbarism.
Some of the victims
Three children were killed on 14 July, when Russia fired several missiles at the centre of Vinnytsia.
Liza Dmitrieva was four years old and was walking with her mother to an educational centre, which the little girl, who had special needs, attended. Her mother, Iryna Dmitrieva, was seriously injured.
Maksym Zhariy was seven, and had come with his mother, Victoria Rekuta, a 35-year-old dentist, from the village of Mala Mochulka to Vinnytsia for a medical examination. Both mother and son were killed in the clinic when the missiles struck.
Kyrylo Liakhin was eight years old, and had come to Vinnytsia with his mother at the end of April from Kherson, which was already under Russian occupation. He was in his grandparents’ car, together with his grandfather, waiting for his grandmother who had gone into the bank. Kyrylo’s body was so badly charred, that it needed to be identified through DNA.
Anastasia Pokhilko was 13 and volunteering at a humanitarian aid centre in Lysychansk. She was killed by Russian shelling on 21 June as she was returning home from the centre.
Ivan Met was 12 when he was killed together with his mother as they tried to flee from Irpin, in Kyiv oblast. The Russians had finally promised a safe passage on 5 March, and then opened fire.
Yelisei Riabokon, who was just 13 was killed as he and his family tried to flee from the invading Russian forces. Photo posted by brovary.net.ua
Dmytro Rudnytsky was 12, when Russia fired a missile at a (Moldovan) children’s rehabilitation centre in Serhiivka (Odesa oblast) on 1 July, killing him and his mother, Nadiya.
Viacheslav Yalyshev was 14. He was killed by a Russian bomb on 2 May 2022, as he ran to tell elderly neighbours that they needed to get to the bomb shelter in Odesa.
Denis Selievin was 15 years old and had hoped to become a computer programmer. He was killed by the Russian military on 5 May as he and his parents were trying to feed and help to evacuate animals from the Feldman Ecopark in Kharkiv.
Kira Hlodan, was just three months old, when she was killed, together with her mother and grandmother, when a Russian missile struck their apartment block in Odesa on 23 April.
Many of the above photos were taken from the Facebook page of Memorial: Killed by Russia, an initiative seeking to ensure that Russia’s victims are remembered. Please support it https://www.facebook.com/victims.of.russia