Maryna Beschastna, the deputy mayor of Ivankiv, a suburb of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, broke down as she told ITV News about the trauma her town’s girls suffered during a 35-day occupation by invading forces.
“Two sisters were raped — girls of 15 and 16. Children,” she told the UK broadcaster while wiping away tears.
“Women were pulled by their hair out of their basements so that soldiers could abuse them.
“Girls started cutting their hair short to be less attractive, so no one looks at them anymore,” she insisted of the desperate attempts to avoid assaults.
The reported rapes happened while Russian troops occupied the Kyiv suburb, which has only now been reconnected with the outside world thanks to a new bridge replacing one that was destroyed, ITV said.
One mom recounted her heartbreaking, doomed attempt to save her 12-year-old son after he was fatally struck by shrapnel.
Elena Skoropad said she and her husband, Sasha, had scooped up their pre-teen, Artem, to race him to a hospital after a cluster munition exploded and peppered them with shrapnel.
“On the way here in the car Artem was shouting all the way, ‘Mommy, Sasha, I love you,’” Skoropad told ITV, also breaking down while in the hospital.
“These were his words, then he kept saying his legs were hurting, his back was hurting. When we brought him [to the hospital] he was still alive … but then the injuries were incompatible with life,” she said of the youngster, a keen basketball player.
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Hospital officials also detailed the desperate, monthlong conditions they met while also overwhelmed by those injured in shellings, shootings and explosions.
“We worked without electricity, without water, without anything — without medicine,” one trauma surgeon said.
“Russians attacked civilians — they killed civilians,” said the surgeon, detailing “a lot of people with gunshot wounds.”