First pictures of a five-year-old girl since she was rescued from a cockroach-infested flat piled high in foul-smelling garbage have emerged.
In the photos, the “neglected” child – named as Lyubov and dubbed “Mowgli girl”– is seen being comforted by the Kremlin’s children’s ombudsman Anna Kuznetsova after she was taken into hospital care recently.
Ms Kuznetsova said after hugging and playing with the girl – who lived in a “den” built of garbage in her mother’s apartment – appears never to have slept in a bed and is terrified of water.
She cannot speak or even utter any sounds and lacks social skills.
Although hospital records show she was a healthy baby, the girl appears to have been cut off from the world, living inside a flat from hell with her mother often absent.
Her 47-year-old mother, Irina Garashchenko, appeared in court earlier this month in Moscow with prosecutors seeking to remand in custody for two months.
A video showed her being taken into court.
She is under investigation for attempted murder with one report from Mash online news channel citing law enforcement that Lyubov wore a plastic necklace that was too tight, growing into her skin, and may have been there to gradually strangle her.
Rescuers had to wear chemical protection equipment to enter the flat and save the half-naked girl, according to reports.
The mother was reported to have been absent for days, leaving her daughter “half starving and dehydrated”.
“Unfortunately, the child does not talk,” Ms Kuznetsova said.
“While I was there, she uttered not a single sound.
“Fruit or other food that we offer her – at first she smells this and only then takes it.
“It is, of course, quite distressing to watch her.
“She is not used to sleeping in a bed. It was very hard to make her go to bed.
“She is also afraid of water.
“Some medical examinations have been undertaken, and doctors say that she is now in medium grave condition.
“Several diseases are being treated now.”
Russian Investigative Committee chairman Alexander Bastrykin has taken the distressing case under his “personal control”.
The girl’s mother is reported to have told investigators she was a single parent and had left the child alone when she went to work.
Neighbours say they repeatedly called police because of concerns over the girl, but their pleas were ignored.