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Ukrainian mother on war struggles

“I want them to hate Russians.”

That’s what Dr. Zoranya Ivanyuk, deputy director of St. Nicholas Children’s Hospital in Lviv, Ukraine, teaches her 12-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son after the invasion of Ukraine by the Russia on February 24, 2022.

She said Newsweek that when the war started, it was unexpected and “a shock” to everyone, causing chaos that citizens across the country immediately had to confront and deal with.

Four days after the start of the war, her husband, Andriy, had quit his job as a pediatric anesthesiologist and was already in Kiev fighting alongside the Ukrainian army.

“[In] in my opinion, he could do a lot of things here, even in the sense of teaching first aid to soldiers, for example, or trying to do courses,” Ivanyuk said. “But he refused because he preferred to go there and stay there and do whatever he could do there.

“It was just his decision. I can’t say I’m okay with that because I still don’t agree.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin during an event marking the 100th anniversary of national civil aviation at the Kremlin Palace February 9 in Moscow. Inset: Ukrainian troops in an armored vehicle drive through Lyman, Ukraine, February 17. A director of pediatrics in Lviv, Ukraine, has a husband who fights in the war while she cares for hospitalized children.
Getty Images; Scott Peterson/Getty Images

He has returned home three times since his first deployment, once for a week, once for two weeks and the last time for about a month. He was stationed in Mykolaiv and Kherson, and he spent several months in Bakhmut before returning to Kherson.

As she answers her children’s frequent questions about their father’s safety and whereabouts, Ivanyuk also has a job to do.

Formerly a worker in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, in addition to being an experienced pediatric anesthesiologist, she became medical director in the last year. She and the 800 staff in the pediatric wing see children come to the hospital every day after being injured in war or needing treatment for chronic illnesses or emergency surgery.

“Now we’re really not just doctors; we have to be psychologists, parents, teachers, facilitators — a lot of things in one person,” she said. “I know it’s hard for a lot of people… It’s really hard to get the kids on that train because every kid is someone’s wasted life.

“The worst thing is when you have children without parents. It’s really difficult because you need to understand, you need to know what to do for them when they come out of the hospital. They don’t have nowhere to go.”

There are 440 beds in the pediatric unit, which decided to offer pediatric heart surgery at the start of the war because children could not get to hospitals in Kiev, more than 500 kilometers away.

With children unable to seek treatment safely in Kyiv, Lviv has become a hub, allowing parents to stay with newborns or receive care from doctors who specialize in neurological issues, for example.

In 2022, nearly 16,000 children were admitted to hospital. About 700 of them were injured.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said a total of 7,199 civilians have been killed since the start of the war, including 438 children. A further 11,756 people are believed to have been injured, including 854 children, although the office says the actual numbers could be higher as totals have become harder to verify.

Friday, the UK Ministry of Defense estimate that Russian military forces as well as private military contractors suffered between 175,000 and 200,000 casualties. The daily briefing also said the figures include between 40,000 and 60,000 killed.

“I want to believe” Zelensky

Ivanyuk knows that she and her family don’t know if they “will have a tomorrow”, but she tries to keep a brave face, especially for her children. It means taking the kids outside and trying to live as normal a life as possible.

“I understand that people are tired, both in Ukraine and abroad,” Ivanyuk said. “I understand that people are short on money and that’s why we are always grateful for everyone’s support.”

She added: “I respect [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky] Of course. I respect that he is still there; I want to believe that he tries to do his best. I’m not that deeply into politics to know for sure, but I hope so. I want to believe it.”

Peace talks between the leaders of the two nations began days after Russia invaded, although talks fizzled out in April last year.

Last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the conflict would end only when Ukraine was no longer a military threat to Russia, citing security concerns.

“Ukraine, like any other territory bordering Russia, of course should not host military infrastructure that poses a direct threat to our country,” Lavrov said when discussing what would be needed to end to war, according to Russian state-controlled media. RT.

Zelensky had previously presented a 10-point peace plan as a condition for negotiations, including the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and the withdrawal of all its troops by Putin.

Last month, Ukraine’s president called Putin “a nobody”, adding that Putin “doesn’t want negotiations because he doesn’t want peace”.

Ivanyuk believes that all Ukrainian territory should belong to Ukraine and that “there is no other way but victory”.

As for her husband of 12 years, she still asks him when he will definitely come home. He said he wanted to see the war through to the end so their son wouldn’t have to fight the same battles 10 years from now.

“It’s not just Putin’s fault,” she said. “Every Russian is absolutely responsible for everything that happens here. Every Russian. And what I want my children to know in their future is that I want them to hate Russians and remember everything that they did here. And I want the Russians to be afraid of the Ukrainians. I’ll be happy with that.


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