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‘What if I die?’ Ukrainian mother inks family details on little daughter’s back

New Delhi: Despairing Ukrainian mothers have begun to ink details on their children’s back, with the hope that they will be taken care of even if the parents can’t make it.

Independent journalist Anastasiia Lapatina shared one such photo of a little girl in a diaper with her name and a set of numbers scribbled on her back. The toddler’s back is inked with the name Vera Makoviy, her birth date 10.11.19 and what looks like a telephone number.

Lapatina captioned the moving photo: “Ukrainian mothers are writing their family contacts on the bodies of their children in case they get killed and the child survives. And Europe is still discussing gas.”

The photo was shared on Instagram by Vera’s mother Sasha Makoviy, with a lengthy caption. Translated, it said: “In the photo, Vera’s back on the first day of the war. I signed it with my trembling hands. But why tell you? You already know what it’s like to wake up to the deafening and powerful sounds of explosions that can be heard for tens of kilometres. I was shaking for the first hours like you.

I signed on Vera in case something happened to us, and someone would pick her up as a survivor. Or it (the child) could be lost… Then even a crazy thought flashed through my mind, ‘Why didn’t I tattoo her with this information?’

Sasha went on to say that the family was “somewhere safe” now but she still could not rid herself of a piece of paper that had her daughter’s details on it. It remains in the pocket of her overalls.

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine entered its sixth week, horrific stories of torture, even that of children, have merged from the ground.

The United Nations said over 150 children have died so far in the conflict. There were several reports how the Russian military bombed a Mariupol theatre with 1,200 civilians sheltering inside it and which had ‘children’ written outside the building.

The Guardian reported recently that Ukrainian children were being used as human shields by Russian troops.

The report said: “Coaches of children were said to have been placed in front of tanks in the village of Novyi Bykiv, close to the encircled city of Chernihiv, 100 miles north of Kyiv.

“It was further alleged that children had been taken as hostages in a number of conflict hot spots around the country to ensure locals would not give the coordinates of the enemy’s movements to the Ukrainian forces.”

Many horror stories continue to unfold as retreating Russian troops leave behind a trail of death and destruction.

Dead bodies were seen strewn on the roads after the Ukrainian army took charge of Bucha and parts of Kyiv after the Russians left.

There were bodies that lay with hands tied, some were shot in the heart. Bucha’s survivors revealed heart-rending accounts of Russian torture during the month-long occupation.

Some had their cheeks cut out, some were shot in the back of their head while others were burned with flamethrowers. The Russian army also set up torture chambers inside a children’s hospital where these atrocities took place.

President Zelenskyy visited Kyiv’s suburb Bucha Monday and reiterated his demand that ‘war criminal’ Vladimir Putin be tried for this humanitarian catastrophe.

Zelenskyy also said a meeting with Putin now seemed doubtful and could only happen if Russia bore all punishments for committing a genocide.

Also read: Stung by ‘issues’ with China-made tech, Pakistan military is back to wooing US for defence

Source: The Print

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