News from Donbas: The school on the frontline of the war in Ukraine - Al Jazeera

13:49 Aug. 14, 2016

The school on the frontline of the war in Ukraine - Al Jazeera

A girl holds a toy gun and a flag of the self-proclaimed Federal State of Novorossiya as people gather to support for Russian school system in the town of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Sept. 30, 2014 (AP Photo)

School No 58 in Donetsk bears the scars of war - as do its pupils and teachers. We followed them for a year

It is Wednesday, May 4, 2016, and five grade 11 boys run gleefully on to the football field next to the school. In their right hand, they each carry a gun, in their left, a hand grenade.

It is the last period and the older pupils have a class in defence, patriotism and discipline. The guns they are using today are made of wood, but later they will practise with the real thing. At School No 58, the war is no game of pretend.

"Maybe the classes will inspire them to join the army when they graduate," says teacher Alexey Ivanov

Read also Kremlin Propaganda: Children 'are not afraid to die for Russia'

He nods towards the teenage boys. They have swapped their school uniforms for camouflage print T-shirts.

One of the boys butts his weapon against his classmate's. Another has picked a dandelion and placed it in the muzzle of his rifle. Full story 

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