A little girl’s moving rendition of the hit song ‘Let It Go’ from the animated film Frozen, performed and recorded while she hunkered down in a bomb shelter in Kyiv, has gone viral as Ukrainian forces continue to fight off a Russian invasion.
Video of the girl, named Amelia, singing at the shelter was first posted to Facebook on Thursday by Marta Smekhova, who says she filmed it with permission from the girl’s mother.
‘From the first word in the [bomb shelter] came complete silence… everyone put their business aside and listen[ed] to a song by this girl who was just beaming light…even men couldn’t hold back the tears,’ Smekhova wrote.
It is unclear when the video was taken or where in Kyiv the shelter is located.
The footage has been shared 99,000 times on Facebook. It has been reposted on various social media sites, with each version racking up tens of thousands of views.
On Sunday, plans for Poland to send fighter jets to Ukraine were given the ‘green light’ by the US amid warnings from Russia that countries hosting Kyiv’s military aircraft could end up being involved in an armed conflict.
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A girl named Amelia sang a Ukrainian version of ‘Let It Go’ to a crowd of people packed into a bomb shelter in Kyiv
Video of Amelia’s performance was first shared on Facebook on Thursday by Marta Smekhova, who says she stopped by to help decorate the shelter
A crowd at the shelter watches the little girl and records the performance on their phones
In the video, Amelia belts out a version of Let It Go for those sheltering in the bunker. Some are seen lying on the floor, while other stand or sit around Amelia and record her performance on their phones.
The song was originally recorded for the soundtrack of the animated Disney film Frozen. Sung by actress Idina Menzel and written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 2014, Disney released a compilation of 42 foreign-language versions of the song, including translations in Ukrainian and Russian.
When Amelia finishes, the crowd erupts in cheers and applause.
‘Bravo! Bravo!’ one voice exclaims, as a shy and rosy-cheeked Amelia clutches her hands in front of her face.
Smekhova said she filmed the girl, whose age is not known, while visiting a bomb shelter in Kyiv.
‘Seeing in one of the Kyiv bomb storage, how children draw bright pictures in half-darkness, I, of course, couldn’t silently pass by… stopped, praised, offered to do a little exhibition to somehow decorate this not so happy place,’ she wrote, according to a translation of her Facebook post, which was written in Ukrainian.
She says she painted images with a boy and a girl.
‘The girl turned out to be so friendly, so talkative…
The woman who filmed the video wrote that Amelia told her she ‘loves to sing,’ prompting the woman to encourage her to perform
Marta Smekhova detailed her encounter with Amelia in a Facebook post on Thursday. She noted the video’s impact, adding, ‘Look Russians, against whom you are fighting!’
Refugees continue to spill out of war-torn Ukraine as Russian forces bombard the country
‘She told me that besides drawing, she loves to sing… and whispered shared her dream that she wants to sing on a big stage in front of the audience…
‘So what’s the matter ? – I’m saying, – now we’re organizing… do you see honey how many people are here? that’s what you sing for!!!’
Smekhova said Amelia was worried because it was her first performance. She also said it was loud and that people may not hear her.
‘Needless to say worried for nothing..
‘From the first word in the [bomb shelter] came complete silence… everyone put their business aside and listen to a song by this girl who was just beaming light…
‘Even men couldn’t hold back the tears ..’
Smekhova went on to acknowledge the video’s impact.
People crowd as they try to get on a train to Lviv at Kyiv station, Ukraine, March 4, 2022
Police and State Emergency Service (SES) officers work at the scene where several houses have been damaged by an explosion, following an air strike in Bila Tserkva, Kyiv Oblast, on Saturday March 5, 2022
Ukrainians crowd under a destroyed bridge as they try to flee crossing the Irpin river in the outskirts of Kyiv, March 5, 2022
A wife says her goodbyes to her husband who is a member of the Territorial Defence as she evacuates Irpin, Ukraine, on Sunday
Groups of people flee the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, after the region faced heavy bombardment from Kremlin forces
‘I showed this video to people in different cities of Ukraine, it was seen by foreigners in different parts of the world! Amelia, your singing left no one indifferent!’ she wrote.
‘Look, Russians, against whom you are fighting! Only a coward can fight against civilians, take away childhood from defenseless children! You let your children go to the stew, making them into cannon meat… and our children radiate light, and even in a raw dark basement it does not blink, but ignites even brighter!’
On Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the country was in talks with Poland in order to orchestrate a deal that would allow Polish fighter jets to be flown by pilots from the Ukrainian Air Force in order to combat Russia’s air superiority.
The deal would see Ukraine take Poland’s 28 Russian-made MiG-29 warplanes, which would in turn be replaced by a fresh set of F-16’s by the United States.
Blinken told CBS’s Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan: ‘That gets the green light. In fact, we’re talking with our Polish friends right now about what we might be able to backfill their needs if in fact they choose to provide these fighter jets to the Ukrainians. What can we do?
Putin is seen speaking to representatives of the flight crew of Russian airlines as he visits the Aeroflot Aviation School outside Moscow on Saturday
Residents frantically look for cover as they escape from the town of Irpin in Ukraine after heavy shelling hit the region
A mother and two children were killed and the father was wounded by a mortar shell as hundreds of civilians sought safety
‘How can we help to make sure that they get something to backfill the planes that they’re handing over to the Ukrainians?’
It comes as Russia’s Defense Ministry today warned countries, including NATO member Romania, against hosting Kyiv’s military aircraft, saying they could end up being involved in an armed conflict.
Defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a video briefing that some Ukrainian combat planes had redeployed to Romania and other Ukraine neighbors he did not identify.
He warned that if those warplanes attacked the Russian forces from the territory of those nations, it ‘could be considered as those countries’ engagement in the military conflict’.
Konashenkov said: ‘We know for sure that Ukrainian combat aircraft have flown to Romania and other neighboring countries.
A factory and a store are burning after been bombarded in Irpin, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, March 6, 2022
People line up to be drafted into the army in Lviv, Ukraine, March 5, 2022
‘The use of the airfield network of these countries for basing Ukrainian military aviation with the subsequent use of force against Russia’s army can be regarded as the involvement of these states in an armed conflict.’
The spokesman also claimed that ‘practically all’ Ukraine’s combat-ready aircraft had been destroyed.
Earlier today US army general Mark Milley visited a training center in Pabrade, Lithuania, amid the escalating crisis in Ukraine.
Ukraine fears an attack from the air may soon be the go-to choice of tactics by Russia after their ground offensive appears to be making far slower progress than the Kremlin had anticipated.
The White House is now working out the practicalities of carrying out a deal, including the crucial question of how the Ukrainians would physically be able to get their hands on the planes.
‘There are a number of challenging practical questions, including how the planes could actually be transferred from Poland to Ukraine.
‘We are also working on the capabilities we could provide to backfill Poland if it decided to transfer planes to Ukraine,’ a White House spokesperson said to the Financial Times.
Poland, which is a member of NATO, would need to play the situation delicately and not be seen to overtly supporting the war unilaterally.
On Saturday, an 18-month-old boy named Kirill was fatally wounded in the the southern city of Mariupol after Russian forces shelled Ukraine’s second city just minutes into an agreed ceasefire.
A man and a child escape from the town of Irpin, after heavy shelling on the only escape route used by locals
Devastating images show the father of an 18-month-old boy named Kirill running into a hospital in Ukraine with his dying son
A person who was trying to flee with his family, lies on the ground after the shelling of the Russian army at the evacuation point of Irpin
A Ukrainian soldier walks past the corpses of a family lying on the ground after shelling by the Russian army at the evacuation point of Irpin, several members of the same family have been killed in this attack while trying to flee
Kirill’s devastated mother Marina Yatsko and her boyfriend Fedor were later seen grieving as they embraced their son’s lifeless body laid out on a stretcher in the besieged city.
And yesterday, in some of the most harrowing scenes of the war so far, the bodies of those killed in the mortar attack were seen lying motionless on a road.
Beside them were suitcases packed ahead of what they hoped would be a journey to safety. There was even a pet carrier among the luggage.
Three members of the same family were among those killed in the attack by Vladimir Putin’s forces on Irpin, a town 12 miles from Kyiv.
Horrific images captured the terrifying experience of mothers, fathers, grandparents and children running from Russian artillery fire.
On the 11th day of the conflict, men, women and children were needlessly targeted and their neighbourhoods reduced to ruins.
Across Ukraine, ceasefires brokered by the Red Cross were breached and humanitarian corridors were closed. The UK Government said Russia was targeting ‘populated areas’ to break the resistance of the Ukrainian people.
The use of this heinous tactic was beyond dispute last night despite Putin’s denials and the disinformation emitting from Moscow.
MILITARY ANALYSTS SAY NATO WILL NOT IMPOSE A NO-FLY ZONE
Military analysts say there is no chance that the US, Britain and their European allies will impose a no-fly zone because it could easily escalate the war in Ukraine into a nuclear confrontation between NATO and Russia.
WHAT IS A NO-FLY ZONE?
A no-fly zone would bar all unauthorized aircraft from flying over Ukraine. Western nations imposed such restrictions over parts of Iraq for more than a decade following the 1991 Gulf War, during the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1993-95, and during the Libyan civil war in 2011.
WHY WON’T NATO TAKE THIS STEP IN UKRAINE?
In simple terms, because it would risk a direct military conflict with Russia that could escalate into a wider European war with a nuclear-armed superpower.
While the idea may have captured the public imagination, declaring a no-fly zone could force NATO pilots to shoot down Russian aircraft.
But it goes beyond that. In addition to fighter planes, NATO would have to deploy refueling tankers and electronic-surveillance aircraft to support the mission.
To protect these relatively slow, high-flying planes, NATO would have to destroy surface-to-air missile batteries in Russia and Belarus, again risking a broader conflict.
‘The only way to implement a no-fly zone is to send NATO fighter planes into Ukrainian airspace, and then impose that no-fly zone by shooting down Russian planes,’ NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said Friday.
‘We understand the desperation, but we also believe that if we did that, we would end up with something that could end in a full-fledged war in Europe.’
‘We have a responsibility as NATO allies to prevent this war from escalating beyond Ukraine,’ he said.
WHAT WOULD A NO-FLY ZONE ACHIEVE?
Ukrainian authorities and people cowering night after night in bomb shelters say a no-fly zone would protect civilians – and now nuclear power stations – from Russian air strikes.
But analysts say it’s Russia’s ground forces, not aircraft, that are causing most of the damage in Ukraine.
What Ukrainians actually want is a broader intervention like the one that occurred in Libya in 2011, when NATO forces launched attacks on government positions, said Justin Bronk, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London. That’s not likely to happen when the opponent is Russia.
‘They want to see the West kind of sweeping in and taking out the rocket artillery that’s pummeling Ukrainian cities,’ Bronk said.
‘We’re not going to go to war against the Russian army. They are a massive nuclear-armed power. There is no way that we could possibly model, let alone control, the escalation chain that would come from such an action.’
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE SKIES OVER UKRAINE?
Predictions that Russia would quickly control the skies over Ukraine have not come to fruition.
Military experts are wondering why Russia has chosen to leave most of its fixed-wing combat aircraft on the ground during this massive land offensive.
One explanation may be that Russian pilots aren’t well trained in supporting large-scale land operations, engagements that require coordination with artillery, helicopters and other assets in a fast-moving environment.
‘I think that maybe they’re a little bit worried that that is a very constrained area. It’s not like the Middle East, where there’s all kinds of space to roam around in the air,’ said Robert Latif, a retired U.S. Air Force major general who now teaches at the University of Notre Dame.
‘They could very easily stray over borders,’ he explained.
‘With both Ukrainian and Russian air defense systems and Ukrainian, what little they have, and Russian airplanes all flying around – that could be a very confusing. I think maybe they’re a little bit worried about actually being able to pull it off.’