But Ms. Makoviy, a 33-year-old painter who was born and raised in Kyiv, was also aware that the man-made island they lived on along the Dnipro River had no underground shelter, she said. Visions of the horrors that Russian forces unleashed on the Syrian city of Aleppo flashed in her mind.
Russia-Ukraine War: Key Developments
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Russia prepares renewed offensive. Ukraine is bracing for a Russian assault along its eastern front, where Ukrainian officials have warned civilians still living in the region that time is running out to escape. But the road to safety is fraught with peril, with reports of Ukrainian civilians being killed as they try to flee.
More evidence of atrocities. Officials continued to document and expose atrocities committed by Russian forces around Kyiv, in what a growing number of Western officials claim are war crimes. Times reporters and photographers went to Bucha to uncover new details of the execution-style killings of civilians.
On the diplomatic front. Karl Nehammer, the Austrian chancellor, visited President Vladimir V. Putin, becoming the first Western leader to meet with him in person since the start of the invasion. Mr. Nehammer said he came away from the meeting fearing that Mr. Putin intended to drastically intensify the brutality of the war.
The family packed their car and drove out of the capital night.
Before they left, Ms. Makoviy scrawled Vira’s information on her back. Vira’s age and inability to understand the situation were a blessing, Ms. Makoviy said. The child inherited a love of art — she liked to draw on her own body — and had no idea of the gravity of what her mother inscribed on her.
Still, Ms. Makoviy was brought to tears on the drive west by her daughter’s repeated pleas to go home and to see her grandmother, who had given her the teddy bear they brought along and didn’t escape Ukraine until later.
Ms. Makoviy, who could not sleep or keep food down until they crossed the border into Moldova, did not want to lie. “We can’t go home now,” she told her daughter.
The family eventually arrived in a village in the south of France, where they have found refuge. Speaking by phone, Ms. Makoviy said she thought that if the worst had happened, Vira might at least be able to look back at her mother’s Instagram, full of everyday moments from their life before the war, and see that she had been surrounded with love.
After their journey, Vira has physical reminders of that love as well — several volunteers on their route gifted her teddy bears. Along with the bear from her grandmother, who is traveling from Poland to reunite with her, she has amassed a small collection.