forced to leave their husbands at the front and flee far away with their children

It’s called Stefania and is one of the favorite songs for Eurovision. “It’s my mother’s name and it’s dedicated to her. So with the outbreak of the war, the spread spread to all mothers protecting their children and talking to people who can not hug them because of the conflict, “says Oleh Psiuk, leader of the band. Ukraine Kalush Orchestra. The play became the backdrop for hundreds of videos from the devastated cities, and on the Turin stage, behind Kalush, there will be a picture of Stefania’s eyes filled with tears. “Now I think I have eaten them all,” says Olga, who arrived in Milan with two small children and a backpack. “My husband put us on the train two weeks ago and went back to volunteer. We are alive, but we have nothing left, only fear of those we have left behind.”

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THE HEROES
Women forced to flee or to fight. Who see their children die and be killed. As Oles Horodetskyy, president of the Ukrainian Christians in Italy, says this year for mother’s Day “There is very little to celebrate. It is a very heartfelt anniversary in Ukraine, but we have not organized anything: we want to demonstrate for peace.” An event like Valerie Glodan, the young mother who died with her three-month-old baby in a missile attack on Odessa, will never witness. One of her latest photos remembers her forever with her stomach: “The best 40 weeks of my life. Our little girl Kira is now a month old and her father brought her the first flowers. This is the highest level of happiness. “Then came the war and the world turned upside down. In mid-March, the Russians bomb Mariupol Children’s Hospital, and rescuers load a pregnant girl on a stretcher: her baby is already dead, she closes eyes shortly after. Mother Tatiana, to save her children Mykyta, 18, and Alisa, 9, escape from the constantly bombed Irpin house. Their bodies are found filled with bullets, aiming to hit, with the suitcases and the cat next to them.

Olga Semidyanova, 48 years old and twelve children, a doctor, chose to take up arms and died in fighting between the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhya regions. Her daughter Oleksandra remembers her with affection, admiration and respect: “She became so strong that after the birth of six children she even managed to raise the children of others as if they were her own. And when his country needed people, he could not step aside. She defended Ukraine, it was her choice, no one forced her ‘. Ukrainian mothers had even worse than death, that is, recognizing the body of their tortured child: an old woman from the village of Buzova, a suburb of Kiev, who found the body thrown into a manhole. And then there are the mothers who fled the bombs to save their families. Natalia Kretova arrived from Ternipil and after 39 hours of travel, she collapsed to the ground in front of her children as soon as she got off the bus in Rome, devastated by fatigue. Sasha Makoviy managed it and now lives in France: before she left, so she would not lose track of her little Vera if she died, she wrote her grandparents’ phone numbers on her back. Now Vera smiles in a nice pink ballerina dress: “Let’s endure,” writes Sasha.

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FLOWERS AND MEMORIES
The life of those who have gone is a torment of phone calls, messages, news from television. The Odyssey of Peace, a project of tireless volunteers gathered by Monsignor Avondios of the Orthodox Church of San Nicola in Milan, is a point of reference for the community. It collects funds, distributes food (300 bags a day) and clothing. Julia, 62, arrives with her daughter Rushema and her two children. Her husband stayed in Kiev, where he volunteered. “This Mother’s Day is making my heart pound. My mother had four children, for the occasion we all went to her for lunch with bouquets of flowers. Now let’s think about who stayed there.

The same anxiety as Nadia, 68, a job in Parabiago and two children in Lviv: “They bring the sandbags to the shelters, they welcome the refugees. My thoughts are always with them, my fears as a mother do not leave me. Today, Natalya, 41, is happy because she wants her daughter Valeria next to her, who arrived a month ago from Chernivtsi. «She studied to be a hairdresser, now she wants to learn Italian and finish the course here. He sees no reason to return to Ukraine, even if the war ends, everything is ruined. For Mother’s Day, we go to my mother, four girls, including my sister. It will be a pleasure, my mother will cook the rolls with ricotta which is our traditional dish. No one makes them as good as his own. ‘

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