Russian aggression against Ukraine has touched Ukrainian children on holiday in the European Union. The incident happened in the “Mistral” children’s camp located on the Black sea coast in Bulgaria. Russian-speaking animation team leader made Ukrainian schoolchildren take off their vyshyvankas (embroidered Ukrainian national shirts). This happened in front of peers from all over Europe.
When the parents of the Ukrainian schoolchildren learned about the incident, they contacted the journalists. The relatives of the children told «Glavcom» that this incident was not an isolated case but rather a culmination of a long-standing ethnic discrimination of children in this international camp. Igor Abessinov, camp Mistral’s head animator banned all things ukrainian from children’s agenda.
In particular, the schoolchildren wanted to perform a Ukrainian song in one of the competitions and received a categorical refusal from the animation leader. “Sing in Russian or in English,” – Abessinov told them.
Olena Lakiychuk, the mother of one of the children, told “Glavkom,” that the incident with the vyshyvankas happened on July 24th. A group of Ukrainian children, in light of Flag Day celebrated in Ukraine, put on their national dress to go to the camp canteen. “Animator Abessinov, having seen the children, stormed up to them and ordered them to take the vyshyvankas off,” – Lakiychuk said. According to her, the kids were forced to obey under the threat of the 125 Euro fine. The curator of the Ukrainian children’s group Anna Golovatskaya advised the children not to make the conflict worse.
The parents of the schoolgirls think that the curator decided not to get involved in the conflict with the camp administration. She silently complied with the demands, fearing trouble for the whole group under her guidance. The children also said, that after the incident the camp administration imposed a strict ban on national symbols in the camp, including embroidered shirts.
(Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina, edited by Anna Palagina)