Pediatric Cancer Patients Are Trapped in a Children’s Hospital in Ukraine

Catherine Norris Trent/ Twitter
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Civilians, including children, are trapped in Ukraine as Russia invades and prepares to conquer their sovereign country. Supplies for everyone are running short, but for children in the cancer ward of the Chernihiv children’s hospital, the dwindling supply of medication—and particularly of pain killers—is a  horrific reminder of Putin’s lack of humanity.

“We don’t know how much time we have,” said Serhiy Zosimenko, a charity worker who is there supporting the patients. “We actually don’t know how to survive here, It’s unreal. We don’t have any more resources.”

“The problem is we can’t evacuate the kids from the ground, we can only evacuate them by air” Zosimenko said. “All routes to our city are mined.”

Mines were laid quickly, in response to the Russian invasion that in this town came from neighbor Belarus, about 90 miles to the north. In addition to laying siege to the town’s roads and cutting off their supplies, Russian troops have shelled civilian areas, including homes, a kindergarten and a market.

Only a few weeks ago, Zosimenko’s job was to procure supplies for the hospital, but now he spends his days—and nights—helping very sick children and their families move from the first floor of a hospital to its basement—where they’re working with limited resources to create a safe spot for the children when the bombs fall—and back to the first floor where their supply stockpile dwindles.

“Two days ago a shell hit 200 metres from our hospital – it was a grad rocket,” Zosimenko said. Now, he is going door-to-door to shops in town, collecting food for the children and begging for international help to get the children out of the war zone. He is also preparing—if necessary—to fight.

Thousands have fled Ukraine in the week since Putin’s invasion began, but for the sick children, leaving wasn’t so simple. Now, they face an invading army if they’re spared their bombs. “We are here with our own weapons, some of the fathers of these kids bring something so they can protect them too,” he said. “We are ready to give our own lives but not willing to give the lives of these children.”

Zosimenko is not the only Ukranian working to help these children. He told The Guardian that when he goes to get supplies, everything has been free. “Just take care of those kids,” he said the business owners tell him. “If Russia can get control of our country, it will only be in one way, that they decide to kill 40 million people, because this country has 40 million people ready to protect it.”

 

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