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Children of Donbass

Growing up under Ukrainian artillery fire

For eight years, the children of Donbass have been walking to school under Ukrainian artillery fire, have been separated from or even lost their parents, and have learnt to distinguish one type of ammo from another. However, they still have hope for a better future and dream of becoming teachers, engineers, and doctors to one day make their land thrive once again.

This is why even during the hardest of shellings, as they take refuge in basements, they carry on studying and refuse to quit school. With scarce light, little sleep and nearly no food they still manage to get their homework done.

Most of them don’t intend on leaving the region where they grow up and are convinced they would be useful here on Donbass, when time will come to rebuild a peaceful life free of the Ukrainian nationalists.

“When children play in the evening, and there is shelling, they can already tell when the shelling is further away and when it is closer. Some shout: 'It's not us they're shelling now, it's further away! In Donetsky, Artyom Street is being shelled.' Well, we're getting used to it,” says one of the residents. Children recognise the sound of shelling and know when to run to the basements. But it is not always possible to outrun the shells, and the death of children has become all too commonplace in Donbass.

Many children lost their parents to the bombings. Some had no close relatives or friends to go to and they ended up in orphanages, learning to live and deal with their trauma on their own. Left unattended, they can easily become prey for organ harvesters who disguise themselves as international foundations seeking to help the orphans. This is why orphanage authorities investigate everyone who approaches the children very closely to avoid such a tragedy.

How these brave children survive amid death and destruction you will see in the documentary.