BBC Newsround and My Life mark a year since Russian invasion in Ukraine with two new specials

BBC Newsround will release a special on 22 February called ‘Ukraine: The Children’s Story’ to mark a year since Russian forces invaded Ukraine. Critically acclaimed documentary My Life released a similar special on 15 February. 

Ukraine: The Children’s Story – A Newsround Special and My Life: Ukraine, My Home go beyond accounts of the war itself and hear how this unique period in history has impacted many children’s views on the world and their futures. 

When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 2022, many lives were overturned. Told through the lived experiences and perspectives of children across Ukraine, the specials dig deeper into their understanding of a world turned upside down and explores where they get their hope, drive and resilience from. 

Since the war began, BBC Newsround has played a crucial role in making the news of the conflict accessible and continually educating and reassuring its young audience, as well as pointing to advice if they’re upset about the ongoing war. The Newsround team travelled to northern Ukraine, to film first-hand accounts of war from Ukrainian children’s perspective. 

In a half-hour documentary, Newsround presenter Ricky Boleto speaks to children whose homes were invaded, follows children using dog therapy to cope with the trauma of war and witnesses a class having to take shelter during an air raid alarm.  

The special blends documentary, journalistic styles with unique animated sequences. Produced and directed by Lauren Parker, and filmed by Brijesh Patel, it is available on CBBC and BBC iPlayer from 22nd February 2023. 

Editor of Newsround, Lewis James said: “Newsround’s purpose is to be a trusted, credible source to help children understand the world around them. When the war in Ukraine began, we knew it was important to inform and reassure children on an incredibly difficult and complex moment in history. 

“The Newsround team met so many Ukrainian children who have shown great resilience, despite the adversity they face daily. These first-hand accounts offer a deeper understanding of the ongoing conflict for children, parents and teachers at home.” 

The Russian invasion has triggered Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II, with over 5 million Ukrainians leaving the country, and over 2.5 million children internally displaced*.  

My Life: Ukraine, My Home is a timely film that follows five different stories, from five different children caught up in the ripples of the war, having to escape and adapt to new worlds.  

My Life follows the lives of children with incredible stories to tell. Produced by Tamsin Summers, these remarkable stories of Anna, Sofiia, Sacha, Lera and Maria show what happens when children are forced to live with decisions made by adults – decisions which will change their young lives forever.  

The film shows how these children show enormous resilience and find themselves able to adapt and change. They cannot understand why their lives must be uprooted and their country attacked, but even during the most unsettling times, they remain positive about their futures.   

The film is scored by one of Ukraine’s leading musicians, Evgeny Khmara, who invited an orchestra of voluntary musicians and an adult and childrens’ choir to come together to record his original music score. My Life: Ukraine, My Home is available on CBBC and iPlayer now. 

Commissioning editor of the My Life series, Kez Margie said: “We have heard many stories from the war in Ukraine since it started a year ago, but usually from adults.  In this moving My Life film we hear it all from a child’s perspective.   

Anna, Sofiia, Sacha, Lera and Maria have had to be incredibly brave in the face of the trauma that has been forced upon them and it’s been a privilege to follow their journeys as they have to leave everything they know behind.  

“We are also very grateful to leading Ukrainian composer Euvgny Khmara, whose poignant score perfectly accompanies the heart breaking yet hopeful stories we follow. He worked out of Kyiv and recorded the final piece with a children’s choir.” 

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