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Ukrainian campaign in US, Canada to commemorate Mariupol theater bombing

by Martin Fornusek March 14, 2024 7:40 PM 2 min read
The damaged Mariupol Drama Theatre in Mariupol, Donetsk Oblast, is seen with the word "children" written on the ground. (Maximilian Clarke/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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The Ukrainian project DE TY is organizing an international awareness campaign on March 16 in the U.S. and Canada to mark the second anniversary of a Russian strike against the Mariupol Drama Theater and draw attention to children suffering due to Russia's war.

Russian forces hit the theater during the siege of Mariupol on March 16, 2022, while a large number of civilians were taking shelter in the building.

Satellite images showed that there was a Russian word for children ("deti") spelled out on the square near the theater, clearly marking it as a non-military target. The resulting casualty estimates vary between one dozen and 600 people.

The campaign encourages people to join a flash mob on March 16 and spread the words "de ty" (where are you?), "dity" (the Ukrainian word for children), and "deti" (the Russian word for children) in public spaces and on social media.

The event was inspired by Leo Wolansky's song "De ty: Where are you?," which was produced together with the film collective Babylon'13 and Lviv State Academic male choir Dudaryk Choir.

The goals are to spread awareness about Ukrainian children suffering as a result of Russian aggression and to promote global fundraising charities that work with children.

According to Ukraine's Children of War database, over 500 children have been killed and over 1,200 injured as a result of the war. More than 2,000 remain missing.

Russian authorities also forcibly deported over 19,500 children to Russia, Belarus, or other occupied territories of Ukraine, of which only 388 have been safely brought back.

One onslaught, one family, one lucky chance: Surviving Mariupol theater bombing
Viktoria Dubovitska, 24, and her two children survived the Russian bombing of the Mariupol Drama Theater by pure luck. Like hundreds of Mariupol residents, Dubovitska’s family was sheltering near the theater’s main stage. But on March 16, her two-year-old daughter Anastasia got sick, and the famil…
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