A six-year-old boy in Bucha, Ukraine places a juice box and two cans of beans on his mother’s grave as his father drops to his knees in the dirt and sobs, “I miss you so much. You left too soon. You didn’t even say goodbye.”
The dead woman’s coffin had been roughly constructed from splintered pieces of wood in the midst of Russian bombs still exploding throughout the city. Having nowhere else to bury her body a neighbor’s backyard became the wife and mother’s final resting place. The young boy is now left to carry the severe emotional scars that’ll haunt him for eternity.
As the smoke clears in Bucha and those still alive begin to wander out of the rubble, very few children can be seen. No childish laughter can be heard from its many playgrounds and school classrooms remain empty. It’s an eerie sight.
The Russians made no distinction between men, women, and children in the most hideous war crimes since Adolf Hitler’s reign of terror. They chose a children’s camp as an execution center where bloodstains now cover the basement walls.
It’s difficult to fathom the toy truck that was left on a window ledge in hopes that a young child would pick up the booby trap and meet their explosive fate. Who could do such a vile thing? The answer is the Russians.
Of the children who remain in Bucha, a small group was seen bundled in winter coats just sitting around a playground. There was no familiar laughter.
When Polina Shymanska was asked how she protected her seven-year-old grandson from the bombing she said, “We covered his ears. We hugged him, kissed him.” They spent many hours playing chess and she would always let her grandson win.
A group of recently orphaned children in the care of two adults have found refuge in an apartment that’s still without gas, electricity, and running water. Attempting to feed them is a challenge. Were it not for volunteers bringing them whatever food is available they would literally starve to death.
Dead bodies are still being dragged from smoldering debris as the smell of burnt flesh and hair permeates the air. Death toll estimates remain as high as 100,000 though the actual number remains yet unknown. The children who survived will travel a long road to recovery if recovery is even possible.
One of the children’s caregivers, Ivan Drahun said, “They’ve realized that now it’s calm and quiet. But at the same time, older children understand that it’s not the end. The war is not finished. And it’s hard to explain for the smaller ones that war is still going on.”
He said the children are trying very hard to adapt to their new lives but they’ve seen so much. They’ve watched Russian soldiers butchering dogs in the street. They’ve witnessed women being openly raped and people being killed execution-style, and many of them, such as the children in this one apartment, are now parentless.
The rabid Russian animals may have left Bucha for now, but they’ll be back after a brief road trip to deliver more of the same to the good people of Eastern Ukraine.
These scarred and emotionally hardened children will grow into adults with a vicious hatred for the Russians who dramatically changed their lives for the worse. Will they seek revenge? Given the circumstances, most people would.
Sanctions aren’t even slowing down Putin’s pups from pooping terror on the innocent people of a Democratic nation, so we have to ask. Is it time?