The Washington PostThe Washington Post

How Ukrainian children understand the war

By Zoeann Murphy, Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff

15 Mar 2022 · 2 min read

PRZEMYSL, Poland — The wave of refugees flooding through Europe is striking not just for its historic scale and speed but also because half of the 3 million people who have fled the war in Ukraine are children. That means one child has become a refugee nearly every second since the start of the war, said James Elder, a spokesperson for UNICEF. Many have had to say goodbye to their fathers before undertaking difficult and disorienting journeys with mothers and siblings, sometimes waiting more than a dozen hours in the cold before being allowed to cross into safer countries. Parents have agonized over how to explain what was happening. Some kids heard they were going on vacation. Others were told directly: Our homes are not safe, and Dad must stay behind to defend our country.

To understand how some of these children are experiencing the war, The Washington Post asked young refugees at the train station in Przemysl, Poland — near the Ukraine border — to draw what stood out about the past weeks.

Sign in to informed

  • Curated articles from premium publishers, ad-free
  • Concise Daily Briefs with quick-read summaries
  • Read, listen, save for later, or enjoy offline
  • Enjoy personalized content