War in Ukraine Reaches Two Year Mark

The “ДЕТИ: Where are you?" Project and new song of UConn Health’s Dr. Leo Wolansky to heighten awareness of the plight of Ukraine’s children.

School children of the Yuri Lypa Ukrainian School in Canada forming a human chain to spell ДЕ and ТИ with their bodies to raise awareness of the dangerous plight of Ukrainian children due to the now two year long War in Ukraine such as those children killed in the March 16th city of Mariupol theater bombing (Photo courtesy of forumtv.ca)

The War in Ukraine has been underway (unbelievably) for two years. It started on February 24, 2022.

Ever since war broke out, UConn Health’s Dr. Leo Wolansky, professor and chair of Diagnostic Imaging and Therapeutics at UConn School of   and now first past-president of the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America (UMANA), has been hard at work to draw attention to the critical humanitarian needs of the people of Ukraine.

Dr. Leo Wolansky portrait in white coat
Dr. Leo Wolansky.

UMANA is a non-partisan professional organization, which includes hundreds of members from across North America. A major portion of the organization’s mission concerns health care to Ukrainians throughout the world. During his presidency, the Foundation of UMANA collected over two million dollars of donations and sent approximately 20 million dollars-worth of supplies to Ukraine (UMANA.org)

To raise awareness of the ongoing plight of Ukrainian children, Wolansky is sharing a song he wrote and recorded in both English and Ukrainian. Wolansky’s song lyrics below tell the story of the Mariupol theater bombing.

In March 2022 the city of Mariupol in Ukraine was under siege,” says Wolansky. “In Mariupol there was a large theater, which was being used as a shelter. The stage crew of the theater had painted the Russian word  “Д Е Т И” meaning “Children” in giant letters on the pavement of the parking lot as a warning to Russian pilots, not to bomb the building.”

But Wolansky sadly shares: “Despite this, on March 16 Russian pilots dropped two large bombs on theater. The AP estimates that up to 600 people, many of them mothers and children died.”

Wolansky says that it is strangely ironic that the four-letter Russian word, if divided into two words, each two letters in length, “ДЕ” and “ТИ” means nothing in Russian, but in Ukrainian spells the phrase, “Where are you?”

“Imagine that,” Wolansky exclaims! “Where are you…children?” Wolansky says at least 19,000 Ukrainian children are missing, and many have died in bombings, and he says the question looms, “Where are you?”

Wolansky, a semiprofessional musician, wrote this bilingual song below about the March 16 tragedy. He performed it for the first time this summer at a Ukrainian arts festival attended by several thousand people. The recording also features the voices of his two sons, Leo and Ivan, as well as a good friend, Olya Fryz.

Listen or download the new song.

At 10 o’clock on March 16, the sky was blue. 

A mother went outside to get her children food. 

But life changed in a flash, 

A frightening, thunderous crash. 

She screamed for her children, “Where are you?”

“ДЕ ТИ? etc.” (Translation from Ukrainian)

Where are you? Where are you, my little daughter? 

Where are you? Where are you, my little boy? 

Where are you, Daddy? Мommy? 

Where are the children? 

The Russian word for “kids” was written on the pavement 

Of the shelter in Mariupol and could be seen from the skies.

But if you split that word in two, 

It spells “Where are you?” 

Can you hear the victims’ desperate cries? 

“ДЕ ТИ? etc.” (Translation from Ukrainian)

Where are you? Where are you, my little daughter? 

Where are you? Where are you my little boy? 

Where are you, Daddy? Мommy? 

Where are the children?

Where are you, world?

Ukraine War marks two yearsOn March 16, 2024, in honor of these children who perished in the Mariupol theater or have otherwise disappeared, Wolansky and the rest of The “ДЕТИ: Where are you?” Project urge people around the world to widely share the word(s) of that tragic day, whether on social media, with street chalk, or by forming a human chain to spell the ДЕ and ТИ with your bodies as done by the school children of the Yuri Lypa Ukrainian School in Canada.

This international effort has already touched Ukraine. A group of Ukrainian filmmakers are creating a music video and Dudaryk, a renowned Ukrainian boys’ choir sings the song’s final refrain.

“As we commemorate the second anniversary of Ukraine’s heroic battle, please take a few minutes to remember the missing children of Ukraine. Although it is too late for the 600 who died in the Mariupol theater, we need to help the 6,000,000 children still living within Ukraine,” requests Wolansky.