Stories of deported Ukrainian children: Russia’s anthem and threats

08.04.2023 17:33

In Kyiv on Saturday, three Ukrainian children – Vitaliy, Artem, and Anastasia – who successfully returned home from deportation, told how they were treated in Russia.

They told about their experience during a press conference at the Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform.

Vitaliy was first taken to a camp where the situation was more or less normal but then was moved to another camp together with other children.

“In this second camp, when I entered one of the rooms, there was no carpet, no linoleum – nothing, just cement, and there were three beds without bed linen. We sat and were waiting for bed linen for two hours, but no one brought it to us. We went to the camp director and they told us that she was not obliged to give anything, they said: ‘We are not volunteers, you had to take everything with you’,” the boy said.

He noted that the children were given cold porridge for meals, were not even given tea, and told that they had to take food with them.

“Every evening we had a conversation about ‘important things’: for example, we were told that Ukraine is terrorists. We were not allowed to call our parents. In our camp, the Russian national anthem could be played for four hours, and we were told that we must learn it by heart,” he added.

Artem also stated that the occupiers had forced children to sing the Russian national anthem. He also confirmed that Russians had told children about “bad Ukraine”.

“There were threats, they threatened that they would send us to a psychiatric hospital. In the rooms, we slept on the floor as there were no beds or pillows, only mattresses. We covered ourselves with jackets,” Artem said.

Anastasia said that they had been forced to sing the Russian national anthem every week at a certain time and were called ungrateful for refusal.

She also noted that when the children had asked the occupiers to send them back to their parents, for example, to organize transportation by buses, the Russians replied that the buses were very expensive to order and that their parents must come and pick them up.

“Every evening we had discos or events. At those events, we were not allowed to speak Ukrainian, show that we are from Ukraine, and so on. We were told that we were unable to do anything and that we should return to our homeland. Children were beaten there, in particular, they hit me,” the girl said.

(C)UNIAN 2023

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