Ukrainian children stolen by Russia: one of 19,514 stories
Nina Medynskaya, a 64-year-old resident of the city of Kherson, doesn't look like a superhuman. But when it was necessary to fight for her grandson, she was able to recapture him from the invaders and return him home. It took her five months to do this. She spent one whole month out of five with her sick grandson on the road, returning home.
She wandered through the occupied territories of the Kherson region, Crimea, across the territory of the Russian Federation, drove through the whole of Belarus and returned to Kherson through Kyiv. If not for the help of public organizations, the grandmother would hardly have been able to return her grandson to the family.
Nina Medynskaya told ZN.UA about her painful journey.
... An SMS has come that children are being taken out of the boarding school
“Our family, my daughter Natalia, granddaughter Dashenka and I live in the city of Kherson. The eldest grandson Artyom from the age of 12 was in a psychoneurological boarding school in the city called Oleshky, which is now located on the occupied left bank of the Dnieper. Artyom is 17 years old. He has a disability, namely a chronic disease of the central nervous system. We constantly contacted the director of the boarding school, Tatyana Grigorievna Knyazhitskaya. She said that negotiations were underway with the invaders to provide a "green corridor" for the removal of children to the territory controlled by Ukraine.
The "Green Corridor" was never made. In the fall of last year, the invaders fired Knyazhitskaya and replaced her with “their own” director, namely a collaborator. He is local, originally from the city of Oleshky, but agreed to cooperate with the enemies. His last name is Suk, but I can't remember his first name...
On November 4 last year, I received an SMS that the children were being taken out of the boarding school. I ran to the river port, got on a boat to Oleshky. When I got to the boarding school, it turned out that all the pupils had been taken out on October 20th. I returned to the pier, but the rashists did not let me go back to Kherson. I shouted that I had a granddaughter at home, and they told me: “Give me the address and we will bring her to you.” These people are insane… inadequate…
For two days I went to the pier, but they did not let me into Kherson. I spent the night in a boarding school in Oleshky – everyone knows me there, but the director was not there, fortunately. On November 7, I went to Skadovsk to find out where my grandson had been taken. In the “administration” there, a Russian girl started yelling at me, she said that I had nothing to do here because the children from the boarding school were taken to Russia.
In the end Artyom was given back to me
And I felt myself in seventh heaven with happiness. Thank God, one woman let me into the apartment of her children, who managed to leave for Poland. And the volunteers also helped a lot... Soon I managed to find out that the children from the boarding school were taken to the Crimea to the village of Strogonovka (a suburb of Simferopol). When I called there, it turned out that the children were transferred to the Krasnodar Territory, to the city of Kropotkin. And by that time I was penniless and without the opportunity to return home. So I stayed to live in Skadovsk. I was helped by kind people and volunteers. Meanwhile, daughter Natalia in Kherson wrote statements to the police and sent letters to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine ...
… And finally I waited for the solution of the problem! On February 2, boarding school pupils were brought to Skadovsk rehabilitation center "Nadiya". I started going to the authorities, repeatedly asking for help in resolving my issue and trying to get my grandson back. They didn't want to give him back to me for a long time. But many different services and volunteer organizations were involved. In the end, Artyom was returned to me.”
The road home was very long and painful
We traveled back by train – first to the Crimea, and then made a huge circle around Russia and Belarus. From there we were able to get to Ukraine. We got to Kyiv and then went to our hometown of Kherson. Artyom very much wanted to see his mother and sister.
According to Nina Ivanovna, Artyom miraculously survived the journey, which lasted a whole month – from March 5 to April 5. And before that, since October, the occupying authorities did not give the necessary medicines to the pupils of the psycho-neurological boarding school. The children suffered greatly, including Artyom.
The family is now reunited. But Kherson is under constant shelling. This is not the best place for children, besides those with problems. But the Medynsky family do not want to evacuate, because they are very attached to their city and home. They hope that our soldiers will soon drive the invaders out of Ukraine.
It is unlikely that the odyssey of Nina Ivanovna and her grandson would have ended successfully if not for the almost invisible, but extremely necessary participation of volunteers and public organizations. She felt their help all the time.
The public organization helped to return Artyom to his family
We talked with the national program director of the international public organization “SOS Children's Villages. Ukraine” by Daria Kasyanova, who was directly involved in the return of Artyom home.
“We organized the return of Artyom to the family,” she said bluntly. – “SOS Children's Villages. Ukraine” is a large international organization that is over 70 years old. It has been working in Ukraine for 20 years. We focus on supporting foster families, family-type orphanages, and families with children. But from the beginning of the war, families began to turn to us, who needed help in returning children separated from their parents and deported to the Russian Federation or to the occupied part of Ukraine.
We were contacted by the office of the Commissioner for Human Rights. They reported about a grandmother who went to the occupied territory to take her grandson back home. We helped with the transfer of the necessary documents to her. Without outside help, it is simply impossible to transfer them from Kherson to Skadovsk. Documents were passed through Poland and other countries. And then we financed her and her grandson's journey home. From Skadovsk to Crimea – by taxi and then across Russia and Belarus – by train. Then, also by train, through the territory of Ukraine to Kyiv and then to Kherson.
It is worth noting that the grandmother fought for her grandson on her own. She is great. We were only helping. And for a sick teenager with a neuropsychiatric disease, such a long and tiring road is a challenge. But he overcame the difficulties.
Why did the grandmother and grandson make such a long journey, almost five thousand kilometers, and even through the territory of the aggressor country, if from Skadovsk to Kherson it is less than 100 kilometers? “It was impossible to do otherwise,” says Daria.
Artyom is not the only child who was taken back from the invaders and returned to his family. Through the efforts of diplomats, politicians, and volunteers, dozens, maybe hundreds of children can be returned to their parents. But tens of thousands have been deported!
According to the latest data from the National News Agency of Ukraine under the Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, 19,514 Ukrainian children are considered illegally deported.
It is also known that in the temporarily occupied territories and in Russia there are about 4,390 children with a special status, which include orphans and children deprived of parental care.
Ukrainian children are literally being reprogrammed, making them forget with a stick and a carrot that they are Ukrainians. And this is one of the worst crimes of the Putin regime.
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