Russia destroys Ukraine’s educational institutions: Volnovakha case

Since the very first days of the full-scale war, the world has witnessed Russia systematically targeting Ukrainian educational institutions with missiles and artillery. 2014 schools, universities and other places of education have already been damaged, 285 have been destroyed completely, according to Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science. The Donetsk region is among the territories most hardly hit: 53 educational objects there have been totally destroyed and 535 damaged.

Russia not only destroys buildings of educational institutions, it also forces children to study according to the Russian curriculum, striving to erase their environment of any traces of Ukrainian identity. Teachers in the occupied territories face retaliation from Russian forces if they refuse to accept the invaders’ conditions. Such is the case in Volnovakha, Donetsk region, occupied by the Russian army since March 11.

Despite the proximity of the war zone and the constant threat of shelling, the Russian occupation authorities resumed the education process in Volnovakha in April, violating the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Regardless of the damage to the buildings of the schools, threatening the lives of children, the Russians urge students to come to classes. Nonetheless, young residents of Volnovakha do not lose spirit and are waiting for the victory of Ukraine, singing Ukrainian songs in the basements during air raids.


  • Svitlana, teacher from Volnovakha (name changed to protect her identity)
  • Ksenia Minina, guitar teacher at Volnovakha music school.

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