Dispatches from Ukraine. Day 635.
Kherson region. The village of Veletenske near the southern city of Kherson came under Russian artillery fire on Nov. 18, the region’s administration office said. A 56-year-old man was hospitalized with injuries sustained in the attack. Russian forces also shelled the city of Kherson the same afternoon, injuring a 42-year-old man inside his car. Kherson’s regional governor Aleksandr Prokudin noted that the wounded man served as a volunteer.
Kherson and surrounds have been under near daily Russian bombardment since Ukrainian forces liberated the city from Russian occupation last November.
Sumy region. Moscow shelled the town of Seredyna-Budy on Ukraine’s northern border with Russia on Nov. 19, the Sumy regional prosecutor’s office said. The attack killed a 51-year-old resident in his home. It is being investigated by the regional prosecutor as a possible violation of international law due to Russia’s use of heavy mortars on civilian targets.
Dnipropetrovsk region. The southeastern city of Nikopol came under Russian artillery shelling on Nov. 19, said regional governor Sergiy Lysak in a social media post. The attack killed an 83-year-old woman and injured a 53-year-old man, as well as damaging three houses, two additional structures and a vehicle, as well as gas and electric lines.
A Mariupol teenager, who had been forcibly relocated to Russia, returned to Ukraine following a video appeal to President Volodymyr Zelensky, human rights ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets announced on Nov. 19. Seventeen-year-old Bohdan Yermohin was deported and placed in a Moscow foster home when Russia occupied the southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol in May 2022.
Yermohin repeatedly asked Russia’s human rights ombudsman to return to Ukraine and reunite with his sister, his official caregiver. But, although he had received assurances that Moscow would facilitate his return, he was summoned to a Russian enlistment office due to his approaching 18th birthday. On his attorney’s advice, Bohdan recorded a plea to President Zelensky, and, in response, Ukrainian authorities coordinated efforts to bring him home. On Nov. 19, his 18th birthday, Bohdan successfully crossed the Belarusian-Ukrainian border. “It was an arduous journey,” Lubinets remarked. “Bohdan faced numerous challenges while residing in Russia, but notwithstanding the difficulties, his determination prevailed.”
The government of Finland approved a new military aid package for Ukraine, the country’s defense ministry announced on Nov. 17. The package, Finland’s 20th, is valued at 100 million Euro ($109 million), but no additional details on its content or delivery timelines were disclosed for security reasons. “What is at stake in Ukraine’s defence struggle is the security environment outlook on Europe and Finland in the current decade,” said Finnish minister of defense Antti Häkkänen. “Together with our allies, we remain unwavering in our commitment to support Ukrainians.”
Three teenagers from Ukraine won the International Children’s Peace Prize for their creation of a digital application designed to assist child refugees. Sofiia Tereshchenko, Anastasiia Feskova, and Anastasiia Demchenko were presented with the award at The Palace of Whitehall in London by Tunisian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ouided Bouchamaoui on Nov. 17.
Moved by the stories of other Ukrainian children fleeing their homes, often alone, in the wake of Russia’s February 2022 invasion, the girls developed two platforms – Refee and SVITY. Refee helps children aged 4-11 find assistance on arrival, such as safety, food and shelter; SVITY helps older kids integrate into their new communities. “Currently, nearly 10 million unaccompanied child refugees are seeking safety,” said Marc Dullaert, Founder and Chair of the KidsRights Foundation. “The amazing initiative of the young Ukrainian International Children’s Peace Prize winners provides an essential need, but it also exposes an embarrassing problem and urges governments to protect child refugees around the world.”
By Daria Dzysiuk, Karina Tahiliani