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France 24
France 24

In occupied Kherson, ‘the Russians were destroying all books in Ukrainian’

Tatyana, a school teacher in Kherson, southern Ukraine. © France 24

During the Russian occupation of Kherson, only one third of schools remained open in the southern Ukrainian city. Many teachers refused to work as all teaching had to be done in Russian. FRANCE 24’s reporters spoke to Tatyana, one of many teachers yearning to return to school, despite daily Russian strikes on their city.

Despite the Russian withdrawal from Kherson, the playgrounds remain empty in the southern Ukrainian city, where all 171 schools are closed. 

Daily Russian strikes target the city's infrastructure, resulting in water and electricity cuts. As a result, Tatyana, a local school teacher, is not able to give her lessons online.

"We're trying to solve the problem with the parents of the children I teach... I want to get back to teaching as soon as possible and will do everything to make it happen," she says.

Like many of her fellow teachers, Tatyana refused to teach in Russian-run schools. 

"Very often when the kids were coming out of school, we heard them shouting things like 'Russia is our country'... They started to learn Russian patriotic songs and the Russian national anthem, as well as Russian national symbols," Tatyana recalls. "It made me really angry that there were parents who sent their children to Russian schools. It's sad that they did that."

Tatyana did her bit to resist the invasion, secretly teaching in Ukrainian from home. Her apartment is stacked with books she brought back from the school to hide them from the Russians.

"All these books are by Ukrainian authors and it's a good thing I took them because the Russians were destroying all Ukrainian language books," she says.

Click on the player above to watch the report by Robert Parsons, Pauline Godart, Raid Abu Zaideh and Yurii Shyvala.

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