"Mom always thinks that I'll come into the room any moment now. But it will never happen again..."
Stories of children killed by Russia
The narratives from the mouths of children killed by Russians were prepared by Natalia Kulida and Maria Morozova from “Ukrainska Pravda” with the help of the parents of these little souls who have forever become angels.
"I really wanted to learn how to ride a bicycle"
Artem Korniichuk, 1 year 7 months old
Kryvyi Rih, December 16, 2022
Hello, I'm Artemko. I'm forever 1.7 years old now. I perished in Kryvyi Rih, at home, when a Russian missile hit our house. My mom and dad were with me. They are no longer here, just like our neighbor. And a few days later, another man from our building passed away at the hospital. Our apartment is gone, as well as the entire entrance.
There were two of us in our family: me and my older brother Maxim. When Mom and Dad found out they were going to have me soon, they were very happy. But Maxim was terribly jealous. Everything changed when I was brought home from the maternity ward—my brother became my best friend! If our parents needed help, I could watch and entertain them. It was especially useful when the three of us, with my brother and mom, lived abroad temporarily. We left temporarily, escaping from the war. I was very young at the time, about a year old.
Dad was waiting for us at home. Oh, how I loved him when he came back! Of course, I also adored Mom, but everyone called me Daddy's boy. I looked like him too. Before I was born, my parents and Maxim often went outdoors, fishing, to the sea. Then Mom stayed with me. But we were supposed to revive our family tradition of vacationing together as soon as I grew up a bit. I really wanted to learn how to ride a bicycle. Dad taught Maxim, and they used to ride together a lot. In a few years, I was supposed to join them too.
On the day we perished, my brother wasn't at home. The evening before, he stayed with our grandma. And although we went to the shelter when it was dangerous, that morning we stayed in the apartment. Now, along with Mom and Dad, we are guardian angels for Maxim.
"I was instantly killed by shrapnel, and then the car with my body exploded"
Kyrylo Piakhin, 8 years old
Vinnytsia, July 14, 2022
Hello, everyone! My name is Kyrylo, I'm 8 years old. I'm originally from Kherson, but I was killed in Vinnytsia. It was to this city that my family and I evacuated after two months of living under occupation.
On July 14, a Russian missile struck an office building in the center of Vinnytsia. At that time, I was in the car with my uncle, while my grandmother went to the bank. I was instantly killed by shrapnel, and then the car with my body exploded. My uncle was lucky; the shockwave threw him out through an open window. That missile took the lives of 27 people, including me and two other children. From an early age, I resembled my father in appearance and my mother in character. I said my first word early—it was "daddy"—and quickly took my first steps.
I was a calm boy who loved collecting Lego. I had dozens of sets of this construction toy and built huge buildings. It wasn't difficult for my parents to handle me because I always listened to them. In my free time, I enjoyed drawing and playing football. After school, I played chess.
I loved reading and language at school; I quickly learned poems and memorized almost everything on the first try. We spent a lot of time outdoors with my parents, visiting our relatives in the village. One and a half weeks before I was killed, we celebrated my birthday. My parents gave me everything I wanted: a toy gun, my favorite Lego set, and a remote-controlled car. And then, exactly 10 days later, I was killed by a Russian missile.
Dozens of people gathered to bid me farewell, most of them strangers. They simply wanted to support my family. They placed a soft toy, my beloved bear Potap, in the casket.
After my death, my mother divorced my father. She is now living abroad and says it's very difficult for her. She lives day by day and has sessions with a psychologist. Mom constantly feels like I'll come into the room any moment, ask or tell her something. But it will never happen again.
"Hello, everyone! Now you are looking at my smiling face. Let's get to know each other better"
Anna Figurna, 15 years old
Dnipro, January 14, 2023
My name is Anya, I'm 15 years old, and I spent my entire short life in Dnipro. That's where I was killed. On January 14, 2023, the enemy struck a missile at a house in the residential area of Peremoha. My whole family was gathered there: me, my mom, dad, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, and her husband. Only my grandmother survived...
I grew up as a little princess to my parents. Mom and dad did everything to make me happy. Friendly, open, sincere, smiling, always ready to help—everyone could say that about me, whether a relative or an acquaintance. I enjoyed learning, participating in olympiads, quickly memorizing poems, and during events, I loved being in the spotlight.
In the future, I really wanted to become a psychologist. I enjoyed listening to my friends and helping them with advice. I also willingly took on leadership responsibilities. We spent a lot of time together with my mom and dad. We went on vacation to tourist bases, out of town, and celebrated all holidays, gathering with relatives.
My aunt often joked that in 15 years, I transformed from a little fox cub into a tall beauty with a slender waist and thick hair. Dad and mom always smiled at those words. They were so proud of their daughter.
We were always together in life, and we perished together. But the Russian missile that struck the house on Peremoha during lunchtime on January 14 destroyed my family. There's no more me, my optimistic dad, my caring mom, grandfather, aunt, and her husband. Instead of a cozy apartment for my loved ones, there's just a huge hole left in that house.
"The last month of my life I spent in a shelter"
Ilya Chekh, 9 years old
Chernihiv, March 20, 2022
Hello, everyone! My name is Ilya, I'm 9 years old, and I'm from Chernihiv. The last month of my life was spent with my family in a shelter. My hometown was constantly shelled by Russian forces.
In mid-March, we were planning to leave. But we didn't make it - a Russian shell exploded near my family, and we didn't have time to get to the shelter. My mom, dad, and I were injured. I didn't survive, although the doctors fought for me for another day. My family survived.
From childhood, I loved it when my mom read books to me. Her voice was simply enchanting. I was an active child, so I did gymnastics, and I always showed my mom all the exercises for her to follow. And with my dad, we went to train on the bars.
To channel my energy, a few months before the tragedy, my parents enrolled me in a hip-hop class. I was so excited about it, especially when I first went on stage. We dreamed of winning a trophy, and our instructor promised to take us to a competition in the spring of 2022. But you know what happened to me and my dreams during that time...
In school, teachers considered me inquisitive, gentle, and sensitive. They affectionately called me Ilyusha. I had many friends among my classmates. I tried to participate in all extracurricular activities — attending events and going on field trips.
During our free time from school, my parents and I would explore the city, go on picnics, relax in the forest, and by the river. I enjoyed throwing stones into the water. I would always find a branch and wave it around like a real ninja. My mom and dad didn't tell them about my death for several weeks because they were in a critical condition after the shelling. And even though their bodies are slowly recovering from that attack, their hearts are filled with grief for me. They still don't know how to live without their little Ilya.
"My mom still remembers how she screamed when she saw my body"
Rostyslav Pichkur, 13 years old
Buzova Village, Kyiv Oblast, February 28, 2022
Hello, I'm Rostik. I'm 13 years old. My family lived in Kyiv when the Russian army invaded Ukraine. My parents decided that our apartment building was now dangerous, so we moved to our country house. But even from there, we had to flee. During an attempt to evacuate into our car, we were shot at by a Russian tank.
We managed to jump out and hide in the woods. But soon another explosion rang out, taking my life. Besides my parents, my grandparents, aunt, and godfather were there. Fortunately, they survived.
I was studying in the 7th grade at a school with an emphasis on learning German. Until the 5th grade, I was even an honor student. I grew up as an obedient, polite, kind, and generous child. As my mom says, I was the perfect son. One of my greatest passions was sports. A few months before my death, I earned a red belt in Taekwondo. I went swimming and played soccer with my friends.
With my dad, we played video games and went karting. The whole family gathered for fishing trips and mushroom picking. After school, my grandma often treated me to my favorite fast food, and my grandpa allowed me to help fix his car. Cars were my passion. I dreamed of owning a BMW. It turns out my dad wanted to gift it to me on my 18th birthday. I didn't know that, and I will never find out. But it would have been the best gift! While I didn't have a real car, I collected model cars. Unfortunately, they all burned in our car, which was shot by the tank.
My mom was almost six months pregnant at that time. I was so excited when I found out I would have a little brother! I always went to the ultrasound appointments, wanting to be the first to know how the little one was doing. But I didn't have the chance to see or meet him. He was born four months after my death. They named him Yaroslav, the name I chose. My family is deeply saddened without me. My mom still remembers how she screamed when she saw my body. They are devastated now, but they continue to live for my beloved Yarik.