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Russian invasion of Ukraine

Photo of Ukrainian girl with a lollipop and a rifle goes viral

The photo of a nine-year old girl highlights the horrors of the Putin-ordered Russian invasion "putting civilians, including children, at risk.”

Ukraine | The photo of a nine-year old girl highlights the “horrors of Putin invading a nation and putting civilians, including children, at risk.”
Alexei Kirichenko

The photo is of a young Ukrainian girl, sucking a lollipop while she holds a rifle, with a ribbon with the colours of the flag of her country in her hair. It’s an incredibly poignant image. She’s sitting in a broken window frame, looking off to her right. Brave, and ready to face whatever might be coming.


Of course what might be coming is Russian shells, mortar fire and missiles, or ground troops and tanks… any or all of the armaments of war that Putin’s army has unleashed on the civilian population of Ukraine since the start of the invasion some three weeks ago.

The photo, a powerful statement, has been widely shared across social media since it was published and has been tweeted and posted to Facebook by Donald Tusk, former Polish Primer Minister and  President of the European Council. He's now the President of the European People's Party.

He used the photo along with the message: “Just don’t tell her please that tougher sanctions would be too expensive for Europe”.

Where did the photo of the Ukrainian girl with a lollipop and rifle come from?

The photo was taken by Alexei Kirichenko in Kiev, and is of his nine-year old daughter. He posted it to his Facebook account on Friday, with the simple message: “Young girl with candy”.

In the comments he is asked if it is his daughter, and he replies that it is. He is asked if the photo was staged to “to highlight the horrors of Putin invading a nation and putting civilians, including children, in danger.” He explains that the photo is staged, and that he gave his daughter the gun, unloaded, for the photo.

Children dying in Ukraine

While the photo may be staged to make a point, the reality is that children are directly involved in this war. Over 70 children have been killed in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and over 100 wounded, according to a Ukrainian parliament official.


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