Dispatch from Ukraine: ‘It's like there are no children here; this war has made them all grow up’

On the anniversary of the Russian invasion, Kyiv-based Ukrainian journalist Oleksander Proshuta looks back on the last 12 months – a period during which childhood ended for all the nation’s children – and, despite everything, remains hopeful that the war will end this year

A child poses for a photo with a toy Kalashnikov rifle while he visits destroyed cars brought by volunteers from the front line near Bakhmut to show the consequences of the war. Picutre: Mykola Tys/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

I vividly remember the days before the war. All of the events were crazy, everything was changing. On February 23 last year, I was sitting on the couch at my parents’ house in Zaporizhzyha, talking with my mother about all the possibilities and what we should do. But we weren’t ready for the invasion to start within hours.

When I went to the railway station to go back to my home in Kyiv, there was ...