To News and Stories
In wartime Longreads

6 stories of Ukrainian children killed by Russian invasion

Russia started a war against Ukraine that does not spare anyone. These are the stories of children who were killed by Russian soldiers and Russian missiles. They are full of pain of parents, relatives, and friends who will never hear that child’s laugh again.

As of August 18, 2023, Russia has killed 502 children and injured 1099 children. The terrorist state must be stopped, and all war criminals must be brought to justice to ensure that no more Ukrainian children suffer from the war.

This text was prepared by the Memorial Memory Platform that tells the stories of the Ukrainian military and civilians killed by Russia.

Denys and Nikol Deineko

March 8, 2022 / 1 year old

Photo from the family archive.

One-year-old twins Denys and Nikol were killed in March 2022 when Russia dropped two half-ton bombs on their home in the Zhytomyr region.

Denys and Nikol were not alike in appearance or character, according to their grandfather, Volodymyr Obodzinskyi, who was in Kyiv at work when this tragedy happened. “Nikol was cheerful, while Denys was more serious. I spent a lot of time with them, playing, so that my wife and daughter could have some rest,” he says.

Volodymyr recalls that the family hired a photographer at the beginning of 2022 and took their last joint photos, where everyone was happy. The family had many plans, in particular, they wanted to take Denys and Nikol to the sea. But their dreams and plans were crushed by Russian bombs.

The children died instantly, along with their mother, grandmother, and uncle.

Liza Dmytriieva

July 14, 2022 / 4 years old

Photo from the family archive.

In July, a Russian airstrike on the city of Vinnytsia took the lives of 28 people, including three children. Four-year-old Liza was among the victims. At the time of the attack, the girl was going back from a development class with her mother.

Shortly before, the woman posted a video of their walk on social media. Liza was pushing a stroller, and her mother asked her: “Honey, where are we going now?”. On her Instagram page, Iryna Dmytriieva often talked about her motherhood experience and her daughter with Down syndrome. “Lisa was a special and very beloved daughter. The only one,” said a family friend.

The Russian attack took the girl’s life, and her mother, Iryna, had severe injuries.

Alisa Perebyinis

March 6, 2022 / 9 years old

Photo from the family archive / Ukrainska Pravda

When Russia started its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, 9-year-old Alisa and her family lived in Irpin, a town near Kyiv. After an enemy shell hit their house, they had to live in the basement. Later, the family decided to leave the city. They were almost at the evacuation point when Russian forces opened mortar fire on civilians.

The girl died on the spot. Her mother, brother, and two dogs were also killed.

“I will never be able to buy you a dress for your prom. I will not stay awake at night while you go to the dances with your boyfriend. I will never have a video of a father and a bride dancing at your wedding. I will never have grandchildren…” wrote Alisa’s father, Serhii Perebyinis, who was away taking care of his mother when this tragedy happened.

In 2014, Alisa’s family already had to escape from the war. They moved from Donetsk to Irpin, and could not even imagine that the war face them again there.

Serhii Podlianov

November 23, 2022 / newborn

Maria Kamianetska kisses her son during his funeral.
Photo: Heidi Levine for The Washington Post

On the night of November 23, a Russian missile hit the maternity ward in the city of Vilniansk, the Zaporizhzhia region. Serhii Podlianov was killed just two days after his birth.

On that horrifying night, Serhii’s mother, Mariia Kamianetska, had just finished feeding her newborn son and put him in the crib beside her when the enemy shelled the maternity ward. The walls of the building collapsed, trapping them under the rubble. Maria tried to save her son, but she was injured herself.

Serhii was the fourth child in the family of Mariia Kamianetska and Vitalii Podlianov. After giving birth, Maria wrote to her husband, “We have a son.” However, Vitalii never got to see the baby alive.

Rostyslav Pichkur

February 28, 2022 / 13 years old

Photo from the family archive / Suspilne

Rostyslav Pichkur was killed on February 28, 2022, in the village of Buzova, the Kyiv region. The family was trying to evacuate when their vehicle came under fire from Russian tanks.

13-year-old Rostyslav received injuries incompatible with life: his arm was severed, and his chest and lungs were pierced. One of the shells got lodged in his body, it was taken out by rescuers before his burial.

Rostyslav learned German, practiced taekwondo, and collected toy cars. The boy dreamed of having a little brother. When Rostyslav was killed, his mother was six months pregnant.

“My soul will remain with him until the end of my days. My soul is torn apart. How I miss him… I want to hear one word – mama. I want to hug, kiss, and never let him go,” wrote Rostyslav’s mother.

Dmytro, Oleksii, and Arina Kravchenko

March 9, 2022 / 14, 10, and 3 years old

Kravchenko family.
Photo from the family archive

When the Russian army started bombing Izium, the Kravchenko family moved into their parents’ home on Pershotravneva Street, finding solace in the presence of their extended family. Although the residential building endured several hits, on March 9, another enemy strike destroyed an entire block, burying dozens of people under the rubble.

On that day, three children of the Kravchenko family, their parents, grandmother, and 96-year-old great-grandmother lost their lives.

The eldest son, Dmytro, missed his 15th birthday by only ten days. He adored computer games and spent a lot of time with his father. “I expected him to become a skilled craftsman. He learned to fix phones and computers. He wanted to do everything himself, he was stubborn,” recalls his grandfather Mykhailo.

Ten-year-old Oleksii is remembered as a very friendly and sociable boy who loved football. Little Arina was the long-awaited daughter after two sons. “Our little princess,” her parents called her.

The victims’ bodies could only be recovered a month after the tragedy. Their grandfather, the only survivor of the attack, identified them. The three children, together with their parents, were buried in a common grave.

In January 2023, Pershotravneva Street in Izium was renamed Memory Street.