Russian troops have been shelling Mykolayiv and the oblast since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. This oblast remains one of the hotspots of the war. The Russians fire on civilian objects and houses every day.
On the night of June 28, the Russian military once again struck missiles across Mykolayiv. Eleven missiles were launched on the city, some of which were shot down by air defense. At the same time, Russians fired at Ochakiv — the city in 60 kilometers from Mykolayiv. Six people were injured there, three died — eight-year-old Eva was among them. The girl died under the rubble: she was asleep when Russian missiles reached her home. Mykola Kuleba, former Presidential Envoy for Childrenʼs Affairs of Ukraine, published and called to spread Evaʼs photo worldwide. A month and a half ago she had a birthday.
On May 14, Eva Smulska turned eight years old. Her parents recently transferred her to a new school. For the past year, the girl has been drawing, and she was good at this. Eva loved to do housework. The girl was born and raised during the war, and was one of five sisters in the family. Her mother Marharyta calls her a special child.
— Eva is my copy. She repeated everything after me, no matter what I was fond of, — says Marharyta. — I am also creative, but my hobbies changed quickly. Here I take the beads — and she does too, I crochet — and she tries. Even when I make fried potatoes — so does Eva. None of my daughters was so attached to me.
Marharyta says Eva has always helped her. But the most important thing was that she did it with pleasure, easily: either to help with the dishes or to look after her sister while the mother ran to the store.
— I always gave her a choice, and Eva always chose to help me, — says Marharyta.
The evening before the shelling the family spent together.
— We had a small renovation in the summer kitchen, — Marharyta recalls. — I turned on the music, we finished some small household chores, sang along. We danced and laughed a lot, and the weather was very nice. Earlier, when I came home from work very tired, Eva rubbed my feet with cream, and this evening as well. My daughter offered and made such a pleasure, and then we went to bed. We were so tired that we didnʼt even wish each other good night.
Marharyta doesnʼt remember what time she woke up, but it was dark. She says that the air alarm did not sound because she always hears it and goes with her daughters to the shelter, which is in the dressing room. This is the only place in the house that survived the shelling. The woman immediately understood what had happened, but did not understand what to do. She was confused, because the girls slept in different rooms.
— I started screaming, my voice broke, the youngest daughter and grandson were crying nearby. My 13-year-old daughter Tonya ran to us. That night only she slept in the shelter. She just woke up in the middle of the night and went there. Tonya is our guardian angel, she helped me get out from under the rubble, and together we raked the others. Eva was found by rescuers. They said they would dig her up and bring her to the hospital, but they didnʼt do this. For a long time, they did not want to tell me [that she died], but I already knew. I knew where Eva was sleeping and saw the place where it stroke. There were no other options, — says Marharyta.
Besides Eva, Marharitaʼs mother, 50-year-old Halyna Sidneva, died, and her 15-year-old daughter Violetta with three-month-old son are in coma. Doctors say the boyʼs condition is improving and Violettaʼs getting worse. However, there are no accurate forecasts.
Translated from Ukrainian by Anton Semyzhenko.