War between Ukraine and Russiadossier
At Boutcha, the Russian forces withdrew. But war and its violence are ever-present in 6-year-old Vlad’s eyes, reports the Associated Press.
For more than a week, the horrific images of the city of Boutcha have been going around the world and have become a symbol of the atrocities of war in Ukraine. A mass grave was discovered in the streets of this small town northwest of the capital, while the bodies of executed civilians, sometimes severely tortured, were found in several places in the devastated city. Images of great violence. And yet they are part of the everyday life of children, like little Vlad, whose Associated Press tells the story.
At Boutcha the Russian forces left. But the memory of the hell of the occupation never leaves the atmosphere of this martyred city and many of its inhabitants. Among them Vlad, 6 years old. In Boutcha, the little boy regularly visits his mother’s grave. A simple burial hastily made in the darkness of war. He carefully places two cans of beans on top. It’s hard for the little boy to understand that once you’re dead, you never have to eat again. It’s also difficult to see at the age of 6 how the streets of his childhood games have suddenly turned into a theater of the worst atrocities. Especially since the Russian soldiers had turned one of the city’s children’s parks into an execution site and an armament base. Ammunition is still stored along the schoolyard.
From now on, life in the stricken city gradually picks up speed again. But the war is still there, everywhere, very present. Even in the family apartment, to which Vlad’s father Yvan cannot return since the death of his wife Maryna. Here the couple did what they could to drown out the sound of shells heard by their son. But they were also afraid. Two weeks ago, Ivan took his son to relieve himself in front of the shelter and visited the neighbors. When he came back, Marina’s body was cold: “I realized she was gone“. According to his testimony, Vlad did not immediately understand, because he thought that his mother just moved away. His father is trying to explain to him what death is. And we must also continue to live. But Yvan is clear: “older children understand that this is not the end. The war is not over. And it is difficult to explain to the little ones that the war is still going on“. On the facade of their building is written the word “CHILDRENwas written in large capital letters. In the event of.
At least 16 children have been killed in the town since the war began, according to Boutcha authorities. And those who survived now live with the conflict and its images that prevent sleep. From now on, war enters the children’s games of Vlad and his friends from Boutcha. “i am ukraineone of them said, wrapped in his down jacket. “No, I’m doing Ukrainesays the other. You are playingbomb» with sand in the sandbox, towards the kindergarten. 940 kilometers away, in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to deny any blackmail in Ukraine, claiming that the images of civilians killed in Boutcha “un fake“, staged.