'Show this to Putin': Horror of the child victims of the Ukraine war

28 February 2022, 11:04 | Updated: 28 February 2022, 11:27

The harrowing photo highlights the child victims of the Ukraine conflict. Schoolgirl, Polina, right also died
The harrowing photo highlights the child victims of the Ukraine conflict. Schoolgirl, Polina, right also died. Picture: Shutterstock/Facebook

By Asher McShane

The true horror of Putin's war on Ukraine has been laid bare in horrific photos showing civilian casualties, including the death of a six-year old girl.

Still dressed in her unicorn pyjamas, the unnamed little girl was fatally injured when the Russians shelled her Mariupol apartment block yesterday. She is among rising numbers of non-combatants who have lost their lives in the conflict.

A woman, who is thought to be the girl's mother, can be seen carrying the child's slippers, scarf and bobble hat while a medic desperately tries to save her life in the back of an ambulance.

As they desperately tried to save the girl, a doctor in blue medical scrubs, looked straight at a camera and said: "Show this to Putin. The eyes of this child, and crying doctors."

The girl could not be saved. A further photo, too graphic to publish, shows the little girl's lifeless body lying alone in a hospital ward.

Live updates: Ukraine to meet for peace talks with Russia on Belarusian border

Read more: Russian rouble crashes due to sanctions as UK cracks down on oligarchs' 'dirty money'

The death of children and the targeting of civilian homes have exposed Putin's lie that he is not waging war on the Ukrainian people in the invasion of Ukraine, which has been described as "pointless."

Calls are mounting for him to be treated as a war criminal for his bombing of civilians.

At least 102 civilians have been killed since Russia launched its invasion last Thursday, according to the UN, with a further 304 injured.

The real figure is feared to be "considerably higher", UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has said.

Ukraine's health ministry said on Sunday that 352 civilians had been killed.

Several other children have been killed in the Russian advance, including a girl called Polina, who was in the final year of primary school in Kyiv.

A little girl, Polina, was killed by Russian forces
A little girl, Polina, was killed by Russian forces. Picture: Volodymyr Bondarenko

According to Kyiv's local authority she and her parents were shot dead by a Russian sabotage and reconnaissance group on a street in the north-west of the capital.

The city’s deputy mayor Volodymyr Bondarenko said in a Facebook post that her brother is receiving treatment at Okhmatdyt children’s hospital and her sister is in intensive care at a different hospital.

“Her name was Polina. She studied in the 4th grade of school in Kyiv. This morning on Teligi her and her parents were shot by Russian DRG,” he said.

One person said of the photo of Polina: "Russia killed her. In Ukraine's capital Kyiv, Polina was in a car with her parents.

Refugee children are seen sleeping on the floor at a train station in Przemysl
Refugee children are seen sleeping on the floor at a train station in Przemysl. Picture: Alamy

"A Russian reconnaissance group killed them all. Little Polina was in the final year of primary school in Kyiv.

"Remember her the next time Russia claims they don't target civilians."

The MoD has said Putin's invasion has largely stalled
The MoD has said Putin's invasion has largely stalled. Picture: Ministry of Defence

Another boy was killed when a block of flats caught fire after being shelled in Chuhuiv, a small town outside Kharkiv.

It also emerged that five members of the same family were killed in southern Ukraine on the first day of the conflict.

Details of the attack emerged from the head of Ukraine's patrol police, Yevhen Zhukov.

Ukrainian refugees arrived at Praha-Smichov railway station Prague, Czech Republic
Ukrainian refugees arrived at Praha-Smichov railway station Prague, Czech Republic. Picture: Alamy

He said who said it involved the family of a police colleague. The family had reportedly been trying to escape the Russian advance in cars when they came under fire near Nova Kakhovka.

The children's grandparents, both aged 56 died, along with the patrolman's wife Irina and two children: Sofia who was six, and baby Ivan who was only six weeks old.

Ukrainian refugees arrived at Praha-Smichov railway station Prague, Czech Republic
Ukrainian refugees arrived at Praha-Smichov railway station Prague, Czech Republic. Picture: Alamy

Putin escalated tensions by ordering Russian nuclear forces put on high alert on Sunday. The Defence Secretary said Putin's remarks were nothing more than 'rhetoric' on LBC this morning.

The Russians were meeting Ukrainian officials today for peace talks on the border of Belarus.

The Russian central bank has been forced to sharply raise its key interest rate to save the rouble from collapse as the war worsened the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

The UK Government announced the relaxation of visa rules for immediate family members of Ukrainians settled in the UK after coming under intense criticism over the weekend.

But Labour called for ministers to immediately extend the opportunity to wider relatives before setting out a "broader sanctuary route" to help other Ukrainians.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said he does not doubt the UK will go further to match the "very generous" schemes that have helped in other conflicts.

He said it is not yet clear whether the European Union's approach will be to support refugees on the border, with the hope they will be able to return to Ukraine soon.

But he added that the UK response will be discussed by senior ministers on Monday.

Home Secretary Priti Patel is understood to be preparing to address further measures to support refugees when she takes questions in the Commons on Monday afternoon.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said it is "shameful" for the Government to "refuse to even help other relatives in a terrible European war like this".

Mr Putin cited "aggressive statements" from the Nato defence alliance and the financial sanctions imposed in response to his invasion in issuing orders to increase the readiness of Russia's nuclear weapons.

The Treasury is targeting Russia's central bank with sanctions in a response co-ordinated with the US and European allies.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the move shows the "steadfast resolve in imposing the highest costs on Russia and to cut her off from the international financial system so long as this conflict persists".

The Defence Secretary warned that the Russian offensive in Ukraine is likely to become "more violent", as troops close in around the capital, Kyiv.

Despite the continued assault, Ukraine has agreed to talks with Moscow and is sending a delegation to the border with Belarus for the meeting.

A rare emergency meeting of the United Nations General Assembly will also discuss the crisis in Ukraine on Monday.

In other developments:

  • The UK Government is fast-tracking plans to tackle "dirty money" and expose foreign oligarchs who launder their wealth through the UK's property market in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
  • The European Union said it will supply arms to Ukraine while imposing a fresh round of sanctions banning Russian aircraft from EU airspace and barring the Kremlin-backed media, RT and Sputnik.
  • BP shares dropped sharply after the company announced it is selling its £10 billion stake in oil producer Rosneft, which it co-owns with the Kremlin, after pressure from the Government.
  • The Football Association said England will not play Russia for the foreseeable future, while Fifa said all Russia's matches must be played in neutral countries without supporters.

During a call on Saturday, Boris Johnson told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Britain will do all it can to get more arms to his military.

Mr Zelensky warned the Prime Minister that the next 24 hours will be a "crucial period" for Ukraine as his army puts up a fierce resistance against invading forces.

The sanctions imposed by Britain and allies appear to be having an impact, with the rouble having sunk by nearly 26% against the US dollar by Monday morning.

Mr Johnson said on Sunday that ministers "want to be as generous as we possibly can" in helping Ukrainian refugees, adding "certainly we want people who have relatives in Ukraine to be able to bring them over as fast as possible".

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