The headline above is not quite accurate.
It was in fact : “Do the Russians want to kill me, Daddy?”
And those words were said to my friend Volodymyr, a former colleague at the BBC World Service, a gently proud Ukrainian.
Heartbreaking words. And obscene that they should have to come from the lips of a seven year old boy.
Almost all of Vlod’s immediate family were wiped out by the Nazis, and then the Soviets.
One of the BBC’s best studio managers, for decades he’s helped chronicle the lows of life under Soviet control, and then the hope that emerged since 1991 and the end of old-style Communism in his homeland.
Progress in Ukraine has been hampered by Moscow’s interference, and by the selfish conniving of home-grown oligarchs. But information is freer now. A large, able and enquiring middle class has grown. And their expectations are greater. My friend’s thesis is that this is what Putin fears from Ukraine : a progressive next-door neighbour. An example to his own subjects.
The funds are being raised by the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, who are working with accredited charities in Ukraine to provide practical help. You could help buy woollen blankets, medical supplies, a month’s food for a family - even trauma counselling and children’s services.
There are other appeals - but it’s done us good, in my family, to take the advice of my old chum, and think of his folks back in Ukraine.
Vlod’s been busy this week, as you can see from the photos he’s sent me…
Giving pointed advice to the British Prime Minister on Boris Johnson’s visit to the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Central London (a private meeting).
And to the British leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer who visited Vlod’s Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in West London.
He chatted to HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, during their visit of support this week too.
All have been kind and well-informed, apparently.
Some could work harder, he feels.
In the meanwhile, my friend, his association and his church will be working hard to provide practical support to those scared and scattered by warfare.
Do help them.