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Ukraine war: Desperate mother writes details on toddler's back

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Image source, Sasha Makoviy

A mother who scrawled contact details on her two-year-old daughter’s back while fleeing Ukraine has described to the BBC her desperation in that moment.

Sasha Makoviy said she wrote little Vira’s name, age and some phone numbers on her, in case the family were separated or killed while fleeing Kyiv.

“In case of our death, she could be found and would know who she is,” Ms Makoviy explained.


The family are now in France where they feel “surrounded with love and care”.

After arriving, Ms Makoviy posted a photo of the writing on Vira’s back to Instagram, and the image has since gone viral.

“It was the first day of the war, and we were preparing everything to flee from Kyiv and I was just not sure if it was safe,” Ms Makoviy told The World Tonight on BBC Radio 4.

Packing their belongings under the sound of falling bombs and with little information available, she said she “wasn’t sure if we would come outside our house and be attacked by rockets”.

“It was my biggest fear that Vira gets lost or that we become dead and she never finds out who she is, or what family she is from,” Ms Makoviy said.

Image shows mother holding daughter in Kyiv

Image source, Sasha Makoviy

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Worried that her daughter might live but have no surviving family members, Ms Makoviy hoped that at least Vira would one day be able to look up her mother’s social media accounts to know what she looked like.

“I thought that she can find some information from the internet, maybe find my account on Instagram – and maybe she could see her parents,” she said.

Having finally reached the safety of France after a long escape through Moldova, Romania and Belgium, Ms Makoviy says she is mentally “crushed”.

The war was so traumatic, she says, that simply walking outside is frightening, because she mistakes stones for landmines.

“Vira is fine. She is too small to understand what is going on. She can feel something from me, but she is too small to understand. I’m really happy about her age. Really happy.”


War in Ukraine: More coverage

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