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Children left alone when Russians captured their mother: story of family reunion from Rubizhne

Monday, 27 February 2023, 14:35

The mother of boys from Rubizhne in Luhansk Oblast who became the protagonists of journalist Dmytro Komarov's film Year, turned up in the spring of 2022 and is now in a safe place with her sons and husband.

Source: Serhii Haidai, Head of Luhansk Oblast Military Administration, said that the woman had been captured by Russians and held hostage for several days.

A five-year-old boy, who introduced himself as Petrovych, and his teenage brother became one of the protagonists of Dmytro Komarov's film Year. The film, which had been shot during the first year of war, was broadcast during the national joint 24/7 newscast on 24 February, 2023.


In mid-April 2022, Russian forces occupied half of the city of Rubizhne, and the other half was under control of Ukrainian troops. Ukrainian soldiers found two boys in the city while patrolling. The children were transported to a hospital in the city of Sievierodonetsk, which was under Ukrainian control at the time.

 5-year-old Petrovych


The children said that their mother left a week ago and had not returned.

"A missile fell nearby while my brother and I were sleeping. I was in the kitchen and my brother was on the couch. There was nothing left of the house – only a small piece, where no one lives anymore. I asked my mom if it would end tomorrow. And she said yes!", 5-year-old Petrovych told the journalist.

It turned out that Petrovych's father was working in Poltava, while his older boy stayed in Rubizhne.

The volunteers sent the children to Poltava Oblast by ambulance, where they were met by Petrovych's father. The fate of the boys' mother was unknown at the time.

  Journalists talk to children in the hospital

As Serhii Haidai states, a few days later, a woman came to the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. She said that in early April, the Russian occupiers stopped her on the street, detained her and kept her forcibly in an administrative building for several days.

"They [Russians] forced her to reconnoitre the positions of Ukrainian defenders by threatening her children. The woman was beaten and abused. Then they let her go," says Serhii Haidai.

 The volunteers sent the children to Poltava Oblast by ambulance, where they were met by Petrovych's father

When the woman returned home, she did not find her children and walked to Sievierodonetsk. On the way, she met Ukrainian soldiers who told her about the fate of her sons.

The whole family is now back together.

See also: "We heard an air-raid siren, planes and bangs...the war has indeed started": the scariest day of February 2022 through children’s eyes

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