A mother who fancied herself clutching her daughter’s hand as they ran for their lives from Russian shells spoke for the first time yesterday of their miraculous escape.
the haunting image of Kateryna Tytova and five-year-old Tajisia went around the world and was on the front page of The Sun.
Amid the rubble and the roar of war, Kateryna recalled telling Tajisia, “Please run—we can cry later.”
And the 35-year-old added: “We sprinted and dragged the kids along. We demanded: “Faster, faster!”
“Houses were burning all around us. In my blurred vision, amidst the deafening noise and terror, I was aware of a shell landing nearby.
“A soldier yelled at me, ‘Don’t look, don’t look!’
“Ten meters away from us, mother and father and their daughter were lying dead on the street. The grenade hit them directly as they ran for their lives next to us.”
Jewelry maker Kateryna continued, “I’ve never been so scared. I really didn’t think we would make it.
“I didn’t know our photo was going to be on the cover of The Sun. But thanks, Great Britainthat you care about us.”
Kateryna was still wearing the same clothes she fled in Hostomel, in northern Ukrainewith husband Olexandr, 35, and son Makar, ten.
They are now staying at friends’ house in Vinnytsia, in the west-central part of the war-torn country.
Kateryna told how they were forced to leave Donestsk in the east in 2014 after the disputed Donbass region was seized by pro-Russian separatists.
They settled in Hostomel on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv.
But her family’s life was shaken to the core again on February 24 – the first day Invasion of the despot Vladimir Putin.
His war machine quickly took aim at the strategically important airport of Hostomel and launched a deadly attack.
Kateryna said: “Our internet went first, then electricity. The Ukrainians have set up a barricade in front of our house.
“In no time at all we were on the front lines of the war.”
On February 28, bodies lined the neighboring streets.
Kateryna, still incredulous, said, “There were burnt-out military vehicles everywhere.
“It reminded me of zombie apocalypse horror movies. But the bodies on the ground didn’t belong in a movie or computer game.
We sprinted and dragged the kids with us. We demanded: “Faster, faster!” Houses were burning all around us. In my blurred vision, amidst the deafening noise and terror, I was aware of a shell landing nearby.
“The bombardment intensified until one morning a shell flew into our yard.
“The explosion shattered all the windows. The building rocked back and forth like we were on a boat. My legs turned to jelly. The children were in blind panic.”
The family grabbed what they could and cried goodbye to their cat and two dogs.
Kateryna said: “As we crawled out of the house on our hands and knees, it felt like everything around us was about to explode. The ground shook.
“We were surrounded by trenches filled with military equipment, weapons and even more bodies.”
The school’s biology teacher, Olexandr, told The Sun: “We crouched while running. We rested in courtyards, in half-built townhouses.
“Buildings burned. I told the kids we were superheroes on an adventure. Our super power was running.
“After 5 km we reached Butcha. But electricity, gas and water supply also went there.
“On March 5, a family tried to drive out of town. They were turned back by the soldiers, who then shot the back of their car. Her 16-year-old daughter died instantly. She was in my class.”
The next day the family set off again through wasteland, through back alleys, along railroad tracks to Irpin. Kateryna said: “We walked 10 km. The children asked for silence.
Queue of life or death
HUNDREDS of Ukrainians are lining up for humanitarian aid in the bombed city of Mariupol.
They risked death in a desperate attempt to get food and water against a backdrop of bombed apartment blocks.
Russian soldiers stood nearby as besieged residents sought help in a town of typically 400,000 people.
Drone footage shows Mariupol was almost completely destroyed, but 100,000 people live in the rubble. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the Italian parliament that there was “nothing left” of the city.
It is feared that 6,000 civilians have been taken to Russian “filtration camps” to be held hostage.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said: “Residents who survived bombing and artillery shelling are now forcibly deported to Russia. The intruders confiscate passports.”
“We kept urging them to say, ‘We can’t stop!’
“Then a minibus stopped. It was already full, but they took us with them. We got as far as the destroyed bridge over the Teteriv River.”
They were standing on narrow planks in front of a makeshift river crossing. Bullets flew and grenades rained down.
Soldiers shouted for families to flee – and Kateryna and her girl were captured in the picture that appeared on the front page of The Sun on March 7.
Kateryna continued: “Tajisia was crying. After another 100 meters we saw another bus. The shelling didn’t let up.”
The family was taken to the outskirts of Kyiv, where they headed east to Vinnytsia. They’re staying with old friends from Donetsk.
In her mother’s arms, still in her dinosaur-print coat, Tajisia gave a thumbs-up.
Exhausted, Kateryna said: “The children are shocked, too scared to go outside. They are afraid to see smoke coming out of a chimney.
“If they see us cry, they will cry. We stay strong.
“I hope my family’s determination will show the world that Ukraine will win the war. It’s just a matter of timing.”
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https://www.the-sun.com/news/4971619/ukraine-mum-war-run-cry-daughter/ I took my little girl’s hand and said, “Run, we can cry later,” reveals the Ukrainian mom, whose picture took over the world