(NewsNation) — July 14 started like any other day for Liza Dmytrieva. The 4-year-old girl with Down syndrome was on her way to see a speech therapist in Ukraine with her mother.
Iryna Dmytrieva often used Instagram to document the days with her daughter, a sort of online diary. That day, she posted video of a happy little Liza sporting a denim jacket and white pants while strolling through Vinnytsia and at one point trying to push her own stroller.
Images of that stroller would end up sending shockwaves through the world. The unthinkable happened before Liza and her mother could make it to the speech therapy appointment.
A Russian missile strike killed 23 people in Vinnytsia, including young Liza. While medical providers worked to help Liza’s mother, the child’s father visited the morgue.
In wake of the devastation, Ukraine’s emergency services shared photos of Liza’s lifeless body near her blood-stained stroller. The powerful images, which served as just one example of the brutality of the war, went viral and left people around the world heartbroken.
“Within minutes of that attack, in July, that image went viral,” Washington Post reporter Jennifer Hassan said Sunday on “NewsNation Prime.” “It was all over social media. It was the pink and black stroller tipped on its side spattered in blood.”
Hassan explained that people started putting pieces of the puzzle together and connecting Liza to her mother’s Instagram account where she showed what it is like to have a child with Down syndrome.
“From the moment she realized she was pregnant, right up until the day that Liza died, she used that Instagram account to sort of tell the story of that relationship. She used that account to sort of let other parents know that if your child does have health issues, or learning difficulties or genetic issues that they can have a good life … She used that page as almost like an online diary,” Hassan said.
Hassan spoke with Liza’s mother about the tragic loss of her daughter.
“I said to her in that first interview, when she came out of hospital, I said, ‘Can you tell me about Liza?’ And she just inhaled very deeply, and she just said, ‘She was my life.’ I think that just sort of sums it up, you know, it’s her only child, her only daughter. She went from pushing her along the street to her just being killed instantly by a Russian missile,” Hassan said.
Hassan added: “Her only child was just killed. She said to me many times, what do I do now, what Russia has taken from me, it can’t be forgiven. She just has to carry this now, every day alongside the physical injuries that she’s trying to overcome as well.”
At the beginning of the war, Liza’s family left Kyiv in an attempt to find safety far from the front lines in Vinnytsia.
“She [Liza’s mother] actually uprooted her family farm from Kyiv, so they wouldn’t be in danger. Actually this is where Liza ended up being killed,” Hassan said. “So I think it really does just goes to show that it doesn’t matter where in Ukraine you are, even if you’re in an area that’s considered safer, you still never know when a hit has come in or when an attack is on its way.”
While the image of Liza’s stroller is a reminder of the toll Russia’s invasion is taking, Hassan says the horror is reality for many in Ukraine as the war drags on.
“Life can change in an instant due to the nature of this war.”