Ukrainian parents are preparing for the worst as they are sending their kids to school wearing stickers with their blood types on them.
Vasyl and Marta are the loving parents of a 5 and 9-year-old who live in a village around 9 miles away from Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city and largest city in Ukraine. Their oldest daughter goes to school in the center of the capital.
When Putin gave his speech recognizing the independence of the two pro-Russia regions in Ukraine, the mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, viewed it as a declaration of war. Because of this, the parents are sending their kids to school with stickers that have their blood types on them.
Vasyl tells TODAY, “It’s like a piece of paper, with blood type information, the names of their parents, and telephone numbers. There is no one form for such a sticker. It depends on every parent. It’s up to them.”
After Putin’s speech, parents in Ukraine discuss the stickers on Facebook.
Olga Tokariuk, who is a Kyiv-based freelance correspondent for Agencia EFE, says on Twitter, “If you want to know how Ukrainians react to Putin’s speech, here’s a glimpse: moms on Facebook discuss putting stickers on their children’s clothes, when they go to school, indicating their blood type. Make no mistake: this speech was perceived as a declaration of war on Ukraine.”
Khrystyna, a mother of 3 daughters, just found out about the stickers.
She told TODAY, “I don’t have any stickers yet, but I had a very deep talk with my older daughter because, sometimes, she comes home from school by herself.”
She told her oldest daughter to listen to her teacher in time of an emergency, as she has gone over where they would meet and “guides for teenagers in emergency situations.”
She has told the younger kids less because of how old they are.
She said, “Of course, it’s a very sensitive topic for them and they could get too scared,” she says. “What they know is that, ‘You should listen to your mom and do what she says.’ And if I said, ‘We go with me’ —because you know, kids want to do what they want — I said, ‘No, you do what I say, and that’s it. And if you should hear loud noises, you listen to me very carefully.'”
She also said that despite the escalation of the war, she tries to give her kids as normal a life as she can.
“I try to keep everything together. I want the kids to feel like normal life — to send them to their regular classes, like dance, music school, and scouts, just to feel a regular, normal life. But what I discuss with the other parents? That has totally changed.”
Khrystyna said, “Historically, Ukraine has had one of the most aggressive neighbors in the world. But Ukraine is our land — we want to live normal lives; speak our language; work; develop an economy; raise kids on the basis of core human values, like love and respect.”
She adds, “So we pray. We pray a lot. We just pray for peace.”