More than five hundred children ages six to fifteen from Ukraine spent time at summer camps across Greece to temporarily forget the horrors of war.
The last batch of children came from the city of Bucha near Kyiv, which has become a symbol of the cruelty of the war in Ukraine. In March, 458 bodies were found after the withdrawal of Russian forces. Among them were twelve children.
Joe Biden has called for Vladimir Putin to be tried for war crimes following the killings of civilians in the city of Bucha.
Biden said the images from Bucha warranted calling Putin a “war criminal,” adding, “but we have to gather the information. We have to continue to provide Ukraine with the weapons they need to continue the fight and we have to get all the details so this can be an actual…war-crime trial.”
“This guy[, Putin,] is brutal and what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous and everyone’s seen it,” Biden said.
Ukraine children were accommodated in camps in Greece
Children were housed in six camps in Halkidiki in northern Greece, in the Peloponnese in southern Greece, and at camps about a forty-minute drive away from Athens.
The children participated in horseback riding, archery, rock climbing, and swimming in the camps’ pools. They also went on educational excursions to museums and archaeological sites.
Camp officials are aware they cannot erase memories of war but hope they can provide a few days of respite.
“Our children have not been able to live a normal life since February,” said Olga Trempoltseva, one of the children’s chaperones from Ukraine, to Euronews.
“Here, in Greece, we got joy, a good mood, the sun, the swimming pool, the air, the sea,” she said. “We are happy.”
“Our goal,” said Magda Katsipanoy, a camp leader, “is to [help] them forget the war in Ukraine but I don’t know if that’s possible…we’re doing the best we can.”
“They also make new friends, and we hope they will stay in touch with their new buddies when they return home,” she added.
Ukrainian and Russian-speaking translators are on site to help with communication. The initiative is part of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum.
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