Natalya speaks in a hushed voice, fearful that Oleksii, her young son, will wake and learn the terrible truth. Of why they had to flee the little house by the pine forest that his father built for them. Of what the men with guns did to her while the boy sat sobbing in the darkened boiler room. Of who the man was lying lifeless in their front yard as they left home for the last time.
“He doesn’t understand much,” she explains down the phone line from the western city where mother and son fled three weeks ago from their village near Kyiv. “In the playground here, he goes up to people and says that we had to leave our house because there was war