The Story of Sofia from Donetsk, Whose Parents Were Killed by the Ukrainian Army

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


All the children of Donbass are united by one tragedy — war, but this is reflected in everyone in different ways. The Federal News Agency publishes the story of five-year-old Sofia Ukhanov, who was wounded during shelling and lost both her parents.

On January 19th, 2015, on Trubnaya Street in Donetsk there was a wild roar — shells landed one after the other. One of them landed near the family of Sofia, who was 1.5 years old at that time. The Ukhanov family left a shop and stopped for a short while, when a shell exploded ten meters away and touched all of them with shrapnel. The father of the girl died on the spot – shrapnel hit his head.

“Dmitry perished immediately, Olya was wounded, and she was taken to the hospital for an operation, together with Sofia. The granddaughter had shrapnel in her naval, leg, and hand… her right hand suffered the most. Her wrist was stitched up in the traumatology department,” said the girl’s grandmother Galina Filippova.

According to the neighbour of the Ukhanov family who saw everything with her own eyes, the employees of the OSCE SMM who came to the scene didn’t document the shelling. Filippova remembers this day with pain.

“I live on the neighboring street — my grandchildren stayed with me on that day. The day before there was strong shelling, but on the 19th there was silence. I went for a walk with my friend and when I left, my grandchildren were at home with a child. I heard an explosion, but was calm because I was sure that mine were at home. When I came back— they weren’t there. And then an ambulance quickly came to me and asked ‘what happened here?’. ‘We took everyone away, but one person remains’. I said that my grandson, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter live with me, but they are not at home. Only afterwards did my neighbour tell me that my relatives came under shelling. I immediately got dressed and ran there,” remembers the great-grandmother of Sofia.

Now the girl lives with her grandparents from her mother’s side. According to Filippova, the event hasn’t affected the child psychologically in any way — she was too young to understand the incident’s element of tragedy. She really doesn’t remember her parents, because she lost them at a very early age.

“She knows that her mother and father are no longer here, but she treats it normally. She was little back then. Now she lives in a family where everyone loves her, she goes to kindergarten and to gymnastics — she grows into a good girl. And so — we go to the cemetery to lay flowers and at the concrete plaque near the house where everything happened,” said the interlocutor of the FAN.

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The fact that the little girl develops normally like any other child can’t be doubted — Sofia is a very active, clever, and creative girl. And, like many girls at her age, she dreams of becoming a real princess.

“I like to draw fairies and princesses from cartoons — I want to become similar to them. I help my grandmother in the kitchen — I wash the dishes, I set the table on holidays. And I really love animals, especially grandmother’s cats Belka and Murchik. They have so much fur!” said little Sofia, describing her life.

The wounds didn’t affect the health of the girl, although she will have an operation on her hand soon – two of the child’s fingers don’t bend at the joints, and in a year it will be necessary to contact a doctor.

In the character of the girl it is visible that she is brought up with love — Sofia is a very warm and friendly girl who loves hugs, smiling, and believes that in her life a miracle will surely happen.

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