Slaughter of the innocent: Girl with Down's Syndrome killed in Putin's latest atrocity

15 July 2022, 10:07 | Updated: 15 July 2022, 10:29

Liza was killed an attack, with her pram left lying on its side near a blown-up building
Liza was killed an attack, with her pram left lying on its side near a blown-up building. Picture: Getty/Social media

By Will Taylor

Heartbreaking images of a young girl who was killed in a Russian missile attack have devastated Ukrainians - with the president branding Putin's country a "terrorist state".

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Photos of four-year-old Liza Dmitrieva emerged as it was claimed children were torn apart in the brutal strike on Vinnytsia, a city in central Ukraine – well away from the front lines.

At least 20 people were confirmed dead after three submarine-fired missiles devastated the city centre around 11am on Thursday.

Among them was Liza, who had Down's Syndrome and heart and mobility issues. She was confirmed dead after a photo of an empty pram - thought to be hers - near a blown-up building made Ukrainians fear the worst.

Her mother Iryna would document her life on social media, posting footage to almost 20,000 followers on Instagram, educating people about her health problems.

Liza's short life was brought to a short and brutal end at the hands of Vladimir Putin's invasion forces, the latest in a string of atrocities carried out in the name of his "special military operation".

Iryna, a 33-year-old designer and blogger, had her foot ripped off in the blasts and was fighting for her life in hospital.

Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy believed it was part of a deliberate plan by Russia to target civilians.

"Every day Russia is destroying the civilian population, killing Ukrainian children, directing missiles at civilian objects. Where there is no military (targets). What is it if not an open act of terrorism?" he said.

Read more: Horror moment Russian missile obliterates shopping mall in Ukraine

His wife, Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine, said she knew Liza from a Christmas event she attended and left a loving tribute to her.

"Today we were horrified to see a photo of an overturned baby carriage from Vinnytsia," she wrote on Twitter.

"And then, reading the news, I realized that I knew this girl. Knew... I won't write all the words now that I would really like to those who killed her.

"We met while recording a video for the Christmas holidays. The little brawler managed to paint not only herself, her holiday dress, but also all the other children, me, the cameramen and the director with paints in half an hour...

"Look at her alive, please. Crying with her loved ones."

Read more: Dancing on Ice star offers help to seven-year-old Ukrainian refugee

Maria Romanenko, a journalist from Kyiv based in Manchester, said: "This beautiful girl from Vinnytsia, Ukraine was killed by Russians today.

"She had a Down syndrome, problems with heart and walking, but her Mum never gave up on her and had an Instagram profile dedicated to her with 19k followers where she educated others on these health issues.

Liza's pram was seen in front of the destroyed building after the strike
Liza's pram was seen in front of the destroyed building after the strike. Picture: Getty

"Her mum had her foot torn off after the Russian missile explosion. Doctors are fighting for her life."

Photos of the aftermath of the attack show cars and streets that have been obliterated in the attack as fires rage in the open.

CCTV footage shows people enjoying an ordinary day, walking dogs or cycling, before the attack sends them dropping to the ground or fleeing the area.

Vinnytsia has been viewed as relatively safe and been used as a transit point for people escaping the invasion.

While Russia has hit the city in the past when it attacked an air force command centre, Ukraine said there was nothing military-related for them to target.

Russia has not commented on the attack but claimed it does not aim at civilians.

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