Forced to wear a Russian uniform and undergo military training

16-year-old Nina was forced to wear a Russian uniform and undergo military training: shooting, throwing grenades, and overcoming an obstacle course. It was a mandatory education in a rehabilitation center in Crimea, which in fact serves to "re-educate" Ukrainian children. The girl had no right to refuse and was constantly afraid that over time the Russians might send her to the front with weapons.

These horrors wouldn’t have happened if Nina hadn't been tricked into being taken from the occupied Kherson region to the annexed Crimea. Back in October, the girl was with her mother Alina in her native village of Tomarine. In those days, predicting the approach of Ukrainian forces, the Russians began to threaten civilians: they said that the armed forces would come with foreign mercenaries who would rape the girls. Nina was very frightened, but the mother tried to calm her daughter down in every possible way.

The girl remembers that fateful day when her girlfriend's nervous mother approached her with the words:
"Ukrainian military and American mercenaries will soon come and cruelly shoot children, even those who greeted the Russians. I'm going to leave. Don't tell mom, because she won't let you go, and I'll call her in the evening. We will go to the Crimea and in 2 days she will take you from there"

In a panic, Nina quickly packed her things and didn't warn her mother about leaving. And a day later, the girl has left alone in Crimea. The "good" neighbor goes without warning and abandoned Nina on the territory of the aggressor. Having calmed down, the girl decided to return home by herself, but the plans were prevented by the local police. They forbade the movement of the 16-year-old girl unaccompanied and called the "service for minors". This is how the Kherson girl was placed in a rehabilitation center with a special regime.

Meanwhile, Alina's mother unsuccessfully tried to call her daughter. Only 2 months later, Nina was accidentally found on social networks by her older brother Artur, and contact was established. The mother couldn't t take her daughter home on her own, so she applied to Save Ukraine for help. Our team returned Nina to Ukraine together with 16 other children who were forcibly kept by the Russians on their territory!

Currently, the family has left Kherson Oblast for a safer region. Nina will recover there after a traumatic event, and we will support the girl on the road to full rehabilitation.

0 800 333 129 - all-Ukrainian hotline of the rescue network Save Ukraine with the support of USAID Ukraine - USAID Україна