A happy, energetic four-year-old beams proudly as she pushes her pram in a video taken by her mother to capture their day together in central Ukraine.
An hour or so later she was dead, her short life brutally cut short by a Russian missile, a pink pram overturned in the street and spattered with the little girl’s blood next to her lifeless body.
Lisa Dmitrieva, who had Down syndrome, was driven on Thursday by her mother, Irina, to a therapy center in Vinnitsa, a city of about 370,000 people located 250 kilometers southwest of Kyiv.
The footage Irina posted on social media at 9:38 a.m. shows Lisa jumping down the sidewalk in white leggings and a sky blue top with what looks like a daisy stitched to the shoulder.
Apart from the hardships of living in a country at war, no one had much reason to be afraid. They were hundreds of kilometers from the nearest front.
“Where are we going, honey?” the woman asks her daughter on camera.
“Each!” replies a four-year-old, shaking loose strands of thin blond hair tied back with a white butterfly-shaped hair clip.
Alla is a common female name in Ukraine.
– See Alla? the mother asks.
“Each!” the young man chirps again, a mischievous smirk on her face.
social media starlet
About 80 minutes later, a barrage of rockets fired from a Russian submarine in the Black Sea hit Vinnitsa, destroying the city center and killing 23 people, including two other children.
Lisa’s mother Irina lost her leg in the attack and was initially reported to have later died in hospital, but the head of the state police said on Friday she was still fighting for her life.
Irina regularly posted on the Internet photos and news about her daughter’s exploits and many problems, where the little girl became something of a star on social networks.
An Instagram account created by Irina dedicated to Lisa garnered almost 20,000 followers, although by Friday morning the number had grown to 80,000 as the horror of the attack shook the world.
“Look how she spins. She loves dresses! — says Irina in one post, along with a video in which a little girl in a lilac field is playfully twirling in her lilac dress.
“I am so happy to be the main example for my child. She copies absolutely everything – dances, movements, posing in front of a mirror, everyday little things, ”says Irina in another post.
“If I play sports, so does she. I draw, she copies.
“I realized that I know this girl”
First Lady Elena Zelenskaya said early Friday that she was “horrified” by images of the overturned stroller released by local authorities, only to find out it belonged to Lisa, whom she was dating.
“Reading the news, I realized that I know this girl. I knew … I will not write down all the words that I would like to say to those who killed her, ”she wrote on Instagram.
Ms. Zelenskaya explained that she met Lisa while recording a video dedicated to the Christmas holidays.
“The little girl managed to paint over not only herself and her dress, but also all the other children, me, the cameramen and the director in just half an hour.”
The first lady posted a video with her message, pleading with her Instagram followers: “Please see her live. I cry with her loved ones.”
Russia invaded on 24 February. The conflict has claimed the lives of thousands of people, destroyed cities and forced millions of people to flee their homes.
Officials said Vinnytsia suffered significant damage in what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky later described as an “outright terrorist attack.”
Images released by officials showed the charred carcasses of several overturned vehicles next to a gutted building supported by charred metal frames, puffs of brown smoke from the impact site.
The head of the regional government, Sergei Borzov, said on Friday that the identities of 13 victims, including two other children, have not yet been established.
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