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Ukrainian MP: ‘I don’t want my son to inherit this war’

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Ukrainian MP has said she fears “half-hearted compromises” will lead to her nine-year-old son having to fight another war with Russia when he grows up.

Inna Sovsun, the deputy leader of the Holos Party, has largely remained in Kyiv during the war, while her son Martyn was moved out of the capital as soon as fighting broke out.

Ms Sovsun said Martyn has already grown tired of the sound of air raid sirens, while his classmates discuss what sort of bomb shelter they hide in.

“I have this very strong feeling that I don’t want my son to inherit this war,” Ms Sovsun told the PA news agency.

“And that is why I’m not taking any half-hearted compromises, like ‘we shall have neutrality and the Russians will keep their forces in Donbas’ or something like that.

“Because for me that means that my son will have to fight another war with Russia when he grows up.

“So I think that is how (my) perspective is changing, because you are thinking about how you want your kids to have their future.”

Ms Sovsun’s son has been staying with family on his father’s side during the conflict, his parents had planned his evacuation before Russia invaded, but did not believe they would have to act upon it.

The MP said she was recently able to spend time with Martyn, adding that she has had to work out how to explain certain aspects of the war to him.

I didn’t want to scare him but I also don’t want to hide it from him

“I found the best way to do that (was) by showing him some pictures: ‘Look, those are the children in the underground station in Kharkiv, do you remember?” she said.

“He’s never been there but he knows this is the place I went to school.

“So I said ‘look at how the kids are living there’ – of course I don’t show pictures of dead people.

“I think the most scared he got (was) when I showed him the pictures saying ‘you see, this is on the road to your grandma’ who lives around Kyiv, and he looks at me and gets all scared and is like ‘don’t tell me she’s dead?’

“She’s fine. I didn’t want to scare him but I also don’t want to hide it from him. He’s nine so he’s old enough to understand some things.”

A drawing from Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun’s nine-year-old son Martyn (Inna Sovsun)

Ms Sovsun said she has found it difficult to forget the harrowing stories about the children who have been hit hardest by the war.

She cited the story of a girl aged “six or seven” who “died from dehydration” as well as “the stories of children found sitting next to their dead parents” in places like Mariupol and Chernihiv.

“You can’t help but imagine ‘what if that were my son?’ and that just makes you feel so much hatred and anger,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ms Sovsun’s son began online classes a few weeks ago, the MP said that the conversations the children are having are “crazy”.

She said: “I was hearing how during the break the kids were discussing what do you do during the air raid siren, or like what sort of bomb shelter do you hide in?

“And it’s crazy that the kids are talking about that.

“The school started ‘the project class’ where they just discuss what is happening here in Ukraine, and they draw pictures like with the flag, stuff like that.

“I’m grateful to them because they’re trained to explain that to kids.”

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