11-year-old girl, shot in the face by Russian soldier, dreams of one day going back to doing gymnastics
Milena Uralova lies in a children’s hospital in Zaporizhzhia recovering for nine days after she was shot in the face by a Russian soldier. She can’t speak loudly because she has a bullet wound to her jar and the base of her tongue. The bullet was lodged in her throat near her coronary artery.
Milena’s mother Elena describes how she fled Mariupol with her two daughters and mother-in-law after enduring weeks of Russian bombardment. They got into someone else’s car, drove through many Russian checkpoints, when around noon they came across Russian soldiers who, without warning, opened fire on them with machine guns.
“After that, the driver stopped, we began to open the doors, leaving with our hands up. Then they started shouting something we didn’t know, and then we saw it [ed. – wound] happened to my daughter, the youngest. We pulled her out of the car, she was injured. Realizing their mistake, the Russian soldiers gave her first aid and sent her to the nearest hospital in the occupied city of Tokmak. Later she was brought to this hospital for life-saving surgery,” recalls Milena’s mother.
Before Russia invaded Ukraine, Mila was doing gymnastics — flipping and dancing. Now she can barely walk in the bomb shelter of a children’s hospital. But hopes to continue doing gymnastics after the war.