Sasha Makoviy’s image of her daughter has gone viral on social media.
A Ukrainian mother who scrawled contact details on her daughter’s back in pen as they prepared to flee the war has described her desperation to make sure she would be cared for if they were separated.
Sasha Makoviy, 33, wrote two-year-old Vira’s name on her skin, along with contact phone numbers, on the first day of the Russian invasion in February as she prepared to evacuate her home in Kyiv.
Speaking through tears, she told the PA news agency: “I decided to put the information on Vira’s back because I was really scared. She is the most precious thing in my life so I couldn’t imagine if we lost each other.
“I thought if I would die she could find who she is, from what family she’s come, and maybe to find some familiar people who could take care of her.
“And that’s why.”
It has since gone viral, both on Instagram and on Twitter, where it received more than 200,000 likes after being shared by a reporter.
Ms Makoviy said the image had struck a chord with her compatriots.
“Firstly it was shared by some of my friends and then it was shared between Ukrainians. It’s really touching them because thousands of other parents had to do this,” she said.
“One of my followers wrote to me in messages that she even put the words, ‘Please take care of my baby’. She wrote it on the baby, just in case.
“It’s what we all feel in our country.”
Ms Makoviy recalled the morning she took the photo – as Russian forces made their way over the border.
She said she was “badly shaking” and “couldn’t concentrate on anything” as she struggled to come to terms with what was happening.
As they prepared to leave, after writing the information on Vira’s back, she said she realised she could have done a better job.
Saying she should have used a permanent marker, she added: “I was shaking so much that all the words were horribly written.
“But it’s so strange that in the 21st century I have to do this kind of thing. It’s unbelievable. It’s so horrible because I had in Kyiv everything I need: a beautiful life, a peaceful life.
“I even did the daily routine while we were packing our things. I did some things like making the bed and washing the dishes because I couldn’t even realise it was for real and we had to leave our home.”
Now she and Vira are safe in France, where they are receiving “a lot of help” and the “people are so nice”.
But Ms Makoviy said her anxiety level remains high.
“Even here in France, when we are walking in the country with Vira, every moment I’m just scared about something like mines,” she said.