Ukraine accuses Russian soldiers of ‘kidnapping teachers and burning books’ in Kherson

·1-min read

Vladimir Putin’s soldiers are kidnapping teachers and burning books in Russian-held Ukraine, Kyiv has claimed.

Russian occupiers are reportedly attempting to force school leaders in captured areas such as Kherson to teach pro-Kremlin material.

Under plans for the new school year, lessons will have to be taught in Russian, and certain historical events will not be taught at length, including Holodomor, the famine that killed millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s. The deaths were the result of Joseph Stalin’s agricultural policies.

However, it appears that Ukrainian teachers are resisting the changes and have been targeted as a result.

“They [the Russians] are making arrests in Kherson region for teaching the Ukrainian school curriculum, and burning Ukrainian books. It’s barbaric, in the 21st century,” said Ukraine’s education minister, Serhiy Shkarlet.

Speaking to The Times, Mr Shkarlet claimed that soldiers “take teachers, keep them for several days, torture them and then release them”.

A school damaged by Russian shelling in Orikhiv, Zaporizhzhia (Anadolu Agency via Getty)
A school damaged by Russian shelling in Orikhiv, Zaporizhzhia (Anadolu Agency via Getty)

Mr Shkarlet added that teachers have taken significant risks to ensure that their students are able to access Ukrainian resources.

“I am proud of my educators, they are definitely war heroes in our country. They did not just teach, but saved, protected, sheltered children. Teachers were often the first to provide psychological support,” he told the newspaper.

As of early July, almost 2,000 schools across Ukraine had been damaged by Russian shelling, according to the Ukrainian education ministry.

The department said this week that 41 per cent of Ukraine’s educational institutions will open their doors next month. They are located in places where the security situation allows for in-person teaching, Mr Shkarlet said.