in kyiv, relatives of missing soldiers await answers

Two years after the start of the war, families of prisoners of war or missing soldiers demonstrated in kyiv on Saturday to remind the world that the war continues.


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Many families, without news of a loved one, demonstrated in kyiv, February 24, 2021. (AGATHE MAHUET / RADIOFRANCE)

This February 24, 2024 is an opportunity for many Ukrainian families – without news of a loved one – to express their sorrow and their impatience. So that the country and the whole world do not forget their husbands, their sons, prisoners of war or missing. A rally took place on Saturday noon in kyiv at the foot of Saint Sophia Cathedral.

A few hundred people, many women, often quite young, in their thirties, are seated throughout the square. Their signs, facing the street, they call on the inhabitants of kyiv who pass by car to honk their horns in support of them.

“I won’t hug my dad anymore.”

Marina, 29, explains that she has not heard from her father for over a year! He disappeared after the Battle of Soledar: “Imagine, it’s been a year since we had any information! Are our fathers, our sons, dead or prisoners of the Russians? We risk spending the rest of our lives with these questions. The hardest part is “is that we can’t do anything. All we can do is wait. But without even knowing what to expect. So be with us! There are so many families in this situation.”

A call for solidarity, for moral support, while international organizations seem powerless in the face of these unanswered questions. Even if some of the children present in this square already know that their father will not return. Solomia, a 4-year-old girl, holds a sign. Above it is written: “I won’t hug my dad anymore. He died in captivity.” Died in July 2022, in Olenivvv-ka prison.

I won't hug my dad anymore.  He died in captivity.  kyiv, February 24, 2024. (AGATHE MAHUET / RADIOFRANCE)

His mother, Yulia: “We are here to remind you that there has still been no investigation into what happened. And because we must save those who are still prisoners. We want to challenge everyone. first our own people, some Ukrainians, who no longer realize: ‘It’s still war! Wake up! Be with us!’ The government also: ‘Do your best to exchange prisoners.’ And then the whole world, so that it knows: ‘We are still at war!'” In the cold of February, the hope, therefore, for these families, that they are not forgotten.

source site-29