The story of 12-year-old Kira from Mariupol: Russians killed her father and abducted the wounded girl to the territory not controlled by Ukraine

At the age of just 12, Kira has been through a lot. She lost her mother in early childhood. Then, her native Mariupol was destroyed by war. The girl’s father, former captain of the Ukrainian national water polo team Yevhen Obedinsky, was shot dead in front of his daughter.

While trying to escape from the city, Kira was injured by the mine explosion. The wounded child was abducted by the Russians and taken into the territory of the so-called “DNR”. The girl miraculously managed to return to Kyiv and reunited with her grandfather.

Kira doesn’t remember her mother. The woman died two weeks after giving birth to Kira. Kira’s father raised two children on his own. The girl’s older sister went to Poland to study a year ago. The sisters have not seen each other since. Both daughters had an incredible bond with their father, who devoted his life to his children.

In the first days of the war, Kira stayed with her grandfather, but her father, Eugene, soon took her back home. The girl along with her father and his girlfriend were hiding in their apartment, and, from time to time, were going to the house nearby that had a stove – to warm up and cook the food. The owners left the family the keys to that house.Kira’s dad was leaving the shelter to find water alone, and the girl stayed in the apartment all the time – she only went outside once. But Kira did not want to play outside anyway.

Residents of the house where the family lived organized a “watch” to quickly spot and extinguish the fire if a bombing occurs. On March 17, another shelling began. Eugene was on duty together with his girlfriend Anna. The couple was on the balcony of the eighth floor. It was then that the Russians shot at them. Eugene died, and his girlfriend Anna survived.

Kira stayed with Anna, and they didn’t leave the basement ever since. The most precious thing Kira has taken with her is her father’s mobile phone. She still keeps it as a treasure and does not give it to anyone. This is the only thing she has left from her dad.

On March 25, 9 days after Eugene’s death, Kira and Anna decided to flee Mariupol on foot. Five other adults and children were with them. A large stray dog also followed them. At one point, one of the girls, Kira’s friend, touched a trigger from the mine on the ground. It was the dog that took the brunt of the blast and saved people. The soldiers heard a sound and immediately ran over to them. The shrapnel hit Kira in the ear. Her face was covered in blood. The soldiers put Kira and Anna in a car that was passing by. The car was driving to Mangush, where Anna and Kira met the Russian military. Russians took away Kira and, later, sent her to Donetsk by ambulance. At the Donetsk hospital, the girl had shrapnel retrieved from her ear.

Russians first threatened Kira’s grandfather that she would be sent to an orphanage in Russia. Fortunately, the girl was released. Thanks to President Zelensky’s team, the grandpa was able to travel miles and save his granddaughter. His route wasn’t an easy one: He took a train from Kyiv to Poland, then went to Turkey by plane, from Turkey flew to Moscow, from Moscow took a train to Rostov, from Rostov traveled to Donetsk by car. But to be able to hug his granddaughter was worth it. The girl is currently being treated at the Okhmatdyt. Here, she is taken care of, and despite the treatment will take awhile, Kira smiles and does not let go of her grandfather so that no one would kidnap her anymore.

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