Russians Purportedly Left Notes For Ukrainian Students In Destroyed Schools

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Ukraine says three killed, two schools destroyed by shelling in Chernihiv
Exterior view of a school with blown-out windows and a collapsed roof, after it was destroyed by shelling, during Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Novhorod-Siverskyi, Chernihiv Region, May 12, 2022. State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS

A Ukrainian school that was ransacked during the Russian occupation of Katyuzhanka, a village north of Kyiv, was found to have notes purportedly left behind by the invading soldiers.

The messages, written in chalk on the classroom blackboards, were found when Ukrainian forces regained control of Katyuzhanka after it was under Russian control in March.

The Secondary School of Katyuzhanka was found completely wrecked with its classrooms destroyed, its equipment stolen and the school yard hosting a makeshift cemetery, according to the New York Post.

A green blackboard in one of the destroyed classrooms had a message addressed to the students and signed by “the Russians.”

“Children, we're sorry for such a mess, we tried to save the school, but there was shelling. Live in peace, take care of yourselves and don't repeat the mistakes your elders made. Ukraine and Russia are one people!!! Peace be with you, brothers and sisters!” read the message written in Russian, as quoted by CNN.

“We are for the peace in the whole world,” another message said.

CNN reported that they could not independently verify the writer behind the notes.

Mikola Mikitchik, the school’s principal, said he was disgusted when he saw the notes.

"They wrote 'Russians and Ukrainians are brothers' and at the same time they robbed the school ... they ruined computers, they took out hard drives, they took away laptops, printers, they left nothing at the school! It's barbarism and hypocrisy," he told CNN last month.

The principal said three anti-tank mines were found on the school premises, along with several stun grenades and machine gun magazines with bullets.

Mikitchik has no doubt that it was Russian troops that plundered the school and estimated the material damage at $170,000.

"Everything was taken out. Even the cables were stolen. We had electrical cables made of copper wire and 100 meters of the cable were stolen," he added.

Another message scribbled on a blackboard inside the school said: “Be fair and honest with each other, give a helping hand to everyone who needs it. We hope we will be friends! Become doctors, engineers, teachers -- those who bring peace!”

Similar messages were found in other Ukrainian schools, located in areas previously occupied by the Russians.

"We're sorry, we didn't want this war. Slavic brothers, you're being deceived. War is bad, don't fight, children!!" read one message at the Novobykivsky General Secondary Education School in Novyi Bykiv, a village in the Chernihiv region.

While the blackboards had messages calling for peace, the school windows were reportedly left shattered, with the roof heavily damaged from shelling.

"The library is damaged. School textbooks are completely burned, not a single textbook remained. Desks are broken, equipment was taken away, computers were taken out," principal Natalia Vovk previously told CNN.

Another school, the Zdvyzhivka Grammar School in the village of Zdvyzhivka, northwest of Kyiv, had a different kind of message jotted on the blackboard next to drawings made by students.

"Putin is your president. Children, study diligently, Russia needs educated citizens," the message said.

Next to a smashed-up LCD TV in the wrecked school was a blackboard that said: “Forgive us!”


Ukraine says three killed, two schools destroyed by shelling in Chernihiv

Photo: Reuters / STATE EMERGENCY SERVICE OF UKRAI

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