A woman’s portrait painted in blue and yellow — the colours of the Ukrainian flag — and streaked with blood-red paint is among 300 pictures by Ukrainian children displayed in a Kyiv bomb shelter Friday.

“It’s worth reminding adults — the whole world — that children see all this, experience it, feel it. And unlike us, they can’t make decisions,” said Olena Sotnyk, a Ukrainian politician and advisor to the prime minister, as well as one of the exhibition’s organisers.

“They expect adults and the world to act to stop the war.”

The exhibition, titled “Children. War. Future”, opened to journalists Friday in a central Kyiv metro station that has been closed since the beginning of Russia’s invasion on February 24.

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The Maidan Independence stop has instead functioned as a bomb shelter beneath the site of massive pro-democracy protests in 2014 that toppled Ukraine’s Kremlin-friendly leader.

A visitor takes pictures of children’s drawings during the opening of an exhibition called “Children. War. Future” on the platform of Independence Square metro station in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on July 8, 2022. – The exhibition titled “Children. War. Future” opened to journalists Friday in a central Kyiv metro station that has been closed since the beginning of Russia’s invasion on February 24, 2022. The Maidan Independence stop has instead functioned as a bomb shelter beneath the site of massive pro-democracy protests in 2014 that toppled Ukraine’s Kremlin-friendly leader. (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION – TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION

The paintings by Ukrainian children from across the country depict horrors from places like Mariupol — a city brutally besieged and bombed by Russian forces — and Bucha, one of the first towns where civilians were found killed en masse.

Others are optimistic: a smiling soldier straps on a helmet, a woman wears a blue and yellow wreath of flowers with a dove surrounded by multicoloured flowers.

But the captions are unambiguous: “No to war,” “I don’t want to die.”

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Kyiv’s Commander-in-Chief said Russia is now working hard to erode Ukraine’s forces the best it can before F-16s arrive and strengthen Ukrainian skies.

“What these children feel is the fear of war, anxiety. But on the other hand, there is faith, hope, support, understanding that there will be bright days in the future,” said Danylo Tsvyok, who was also involved in staging the collection.

Sotnyk said there were plans in place to create a digital exhibition of several thousand images by children reflecting on the conflict.

The Ukrainian prosecutor general says that at least 347 children have been killed and another 646 wounded since the beginning of Russia’s invasion.

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A visitor looks at children’s drawings during the opening of an exhibition called “Children. War. Future” on the platform of Independence Square metro station in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on July 8, 2022. – The exhibition titled “Children. War. Future” opened to journalists Friday in a central Kyiv metro station that has been closed since the beginning of Russia’s invasion on February 24, 2022. The Maidan Independence stop has instead functioned as a bomb shelter beneath the site of massive pro-democracy protests in 2014 that toppled Ukraine’s Kremlin-friendly leader. (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION – TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION
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