Ukrainian youths visiting Hiroshima wish for peace back home

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A group of Ukrainian girls listen to a local guide about the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima at the Peace Memorial Park in the city’s Naka Ward on Saturday.

HIROSHIMA — Seven Ukrainian children, who have been displaced to Aichi and Gifu prefectures due to Russia’s invasion of their country, visited Hiroshima Prefecture as part of a peace program.

The children participated in the peace camp on Saturday and Sunday. They learned about the history of Hiroshima’s reconstruction after the 1945 atomic bombing of the city and wished for the return of peace to their country.

The peace camp is part of a program organized by U-Crane, a Nagoya-based group that supports displaced Ukrainian people, at the proposal of the Japanese-Ukrainian Culture Association, which is based in the same city. The participating seven Ukrainian girls are 10 to 14 years old. They arrived in Japan between March and June and currently attend Japanese elementary or junior high schools.

During their visit to the Peace Memorial Park in Naka Ward, Hiroshima, the children learned from a local guide that the park was built where the city’s downtown area was once located before being destroyed by the atomic bomb. The girls also visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and viewed items including the clothing of children who were exposed to the atomic bomb.

“I believe that Ukraine will recover like Hiroshima did,” said Kravets Vladislava, a 13-year-old participant who traveled from Zhytomyr, west of Kyiv, to Nagoya. “I want us to support each other so that our city will be better than it was before the invasion.”

Samara Veronika, 12, was displaced from Zaporizhzhia to Tokai, Aichi Prefecture. She expressed her hope of returning to Ukraine one day and helping those who lost their families in the war.