When Ukrainian forces regained keep watch over of Katyuzhanka, a village north of Kyiv that were beneath Russian career for greater than a month in March, they discovered the native faculty wrecked. Any apparatus that hadn’t been stolen was once smashed, there was once a makeshift cemetery within the faculty backyard and deep trenches were dug around the soccer pitch.
Within some of the destroyed study rooms, written in chalk on a large, inexperienced blackboard putting at the wall slightly below a portrait of Isaac Newton, was once a letter addressed to the pupils and signed “the Russians.”
It learn: “Youngsters, we’re sorry for this type of mess, we attempted to save lots of the varsity, however there was once shelling. Are living in peace, maintain yourselves and don’t repeat the errors your elders made. Ukraine and Russia are one folks!!! Peace be with you, brothers and sisters!”
The notice, written in Russian, versus Ukrainian – the varsity’s language of instruction, was once one among a number of left on blackboards and whiteboards scattered across the development. “We’re for the peace in the entire global,” every other one mentioned. CNN can not independently check who wrote the notes.
Mikola Mikitchik, the most important of the Secondary College of Katyuzhanka, advised CNN remaining month he felt disgusted when he discovered the notes.
“They wrote ‘Russians and Ukrainians are brothers’ and on the identical time they robbed the varsity … they ruined computer systems, they took out onerous drives, they took away laptops, printers, they left not anything on the faculty! It’s barbarism and hypocrisy,” he mentioned.
Mikitchik advised CNN 3 anti-tank mines, a number of stun grenades and gadget gun magazines with bullets have been discovered at the faculty grounds. The kitchen, just lately refurbished with new apparatus that was once used to feed greater than 500 kids every day sooner than the struggle began, was once totally wrecked.
In line with an operational replace printed via the Ukrainian Ministry of Protection on March 3, Russian troops have been in keep watch over of Katyuzhanka at the moment, having established logistics camps there and in different villages within the house.
Katyuzhanka is a small village, however strategically vital because of its place on some of the major roads resulting in Kyiv. Satellite tv for pc pictures from early March printed a 40-mile-long (64-kilometer-long) Russian army convoy composed of tanks, armored cars and towed artillery on this house.
Mikitchik has estimated the fabric injury brought about via the Russian troops – and in his thoughts there’s indubitably it was once them who looted the varsity – amounted to about 5 million Ukrainian hryvnia ($170,000) and mentioned he can not consider pupils coming again any time quickly.
“The whole thing was once taken out. Even the cables have been stolen. We had electric cables made from copper twine and 100 meters of the cable have been stolen,” he mentioned.
On the identical time, every other notice left within the faculty mentioned: “Be truthful and fair with each and every different, give a serving to hand to everybody who wishes it. We are hoping we can be buddies! Transform medical doctors, engineers, academics – those that deliver peace!”
The notes scribbled at the blackboard in Katyuzhanka have been amongst dozens of messages present in colleges in in the past occupied spaces of Ukraine after the withdrawal of Russian troops.
In Ukraine, footage of those notes become an emblem of the cruelty and the large toll of Russia’s unprovoked aggression.
However in Russia, they generated an excessively other reaction once they first emerged in April and temporarily become a part of the propaganda portraying Moscow’s attack in opposition to Ukraine as a “liberation.”
The Russian information web page Lenta.ru ran a piece of writing about “touching messages to Ukrainian kids” left at the back of via the Russian army, whilst the web page of the Russian TV channel Tsargrad reported a “trustworthy” notice that wanted Ukrainian kids “good fortune of their research.”
Former Russian tradition minister Vladimir Medinsky even shared an image of some of the notes, announcing he was once “touched” via its message.
In Novyi Bykiv, a village within the Chernihiv area east of Kyiv, most important Natalia Vovk additionally discovered various notes written on blackboards, a lot of them calling for peace and friendship between the Ukrainian and Russian folks.
The Novobykivsky Normal Secondary Schooling College was once hit onerous all through the combating. The roof was once seriously broken via shelling and all the home windows have been damaged, Vovk advised CNN remaining month.
“The library is broken. College textbooks are totally burned, no longer a unmarried textbook remained. Desks are damaged, apparatus was once taken away, computer systems have been taken out,” she mentioned.
But in a lot of study rooms, notes calling for peace have been left via the Russian troops, she mentioned.
“We’re sorry, we didn’t need this struggle. Slavic brothers, you’re being deceived. Conflict is dangerous, don’t combat, kids!!” learn one signal, written in huge letters throughout a inexperienced blackboard.
“Let’s reside in friendship!!!” was once jotted down on every other board, Vovk mentioned. An image from every other study room displays an indication that claims, “We’re all Slavic. It isn’t just right for brothers to move [against each other] with a knife.”
Like Mikitchik, Vovk is now cataloging the wear executed to her faculty all through the career.
“We had an interactive panel, that value us 100,000 hryvnias ($3,700) and so they stole it. Printers and laptops have been stolen. What they couldn’t thieve, they broke, made it unusable,” she mentioned.
The Novyi Bykiv faculty development is formed in a letter U, enclosing the varsity backyard on 3 facets.
“This was once handy for them, they put a rocket launcher within the middle and introduced rockets from the middle of the varsity,” Vovk mentioned, including that the varsity’s format and its basements made it more uncomplicated for the Russian troops to cover from incoming risk.
“There are lots of passages within the faculty: You’ll input from one facet and go out from the opposite facet and so they have been very happy with it. They even had a eating room there,” she added.
Vovk mentioned she believed one of the most messages left via the Russian troops confirmed their non-public desperation. Many have been expressing anti-war sentiments, she mentioned, and no less than 5 of the notes have been calling for friendship.
There was once one inscription that mentioned “All of us wish to LIVE” with the phrase “reside” written in capital letters, she mentioned. Every other one mentioned, “We don’t perceive what we’re doing right here.”
“I imagine those notes display they understood the doom. In all probability they have been looking ahead to loss of life,” she mentioned. “However in addition they thought of the truth that they might be punished for the evil they did. It looked like the [writer] sought after to reside, have a toddler and do the whole thing as commonplace, however they understood that finally this they might now not be capable of go back to commonplace lifestyles,” she mentioned.
Within the Zdvyzhivka Grammar College within the village of Zdvyzhivka, northwest of Kyiv, every other more or less message was once discovered.
“Putin is your president. Youngsters, find out about diligently, Russia wishes trained electorate,” mentioned a notice discovered on a blackboard that was once adorned with kids’s drawings depicting other planets of the sun machine.
An worker of the varsity, who wanted to stay nameless on account of protection fears, mentioned tripwire mines have been discovered at the faculty’s premises after the Russians withdrew from the world in past due March.
Underneath Russian keep watch over, the Zdvyzhivka faculty become the headquarters for OMON, the special-police department of the Nationwide Guard of Russia, he mentioned. Like Katyuzhanka, Zdvyzhivka could also be positioned on some of the major roads resulting in Kyiv from the north.
As within the two different colleges, virtually all the Zdvyzhivka faculty’s apparatus was once both stolen or destroyed.
“They smashed the youngsters’s tables, destroyed the kindergarten, the home windows are damaged. They stole smartboards and laptops,” the worker mentioned.
“We had a big LCD TV. They couldn’t thieve it as it was once too giant. In order that they shot it and left it in the study room,” the worker added.
On a blackboard close to the smashed-up TV display, every other message was once discovered written on a blackboard: “Forgive us!”