Heartbreaking video shows little Sasha, 4, blowing out candles on her birthday cake

HERE is the heartbreaking video showing a four-year-old Sasha from Ukraine celebrating his birthday – just a week before his tragic death.

Sasha Zdanovych disappeared on a boat from Ukraine that capsized as he desperately tried to escape the massacre in Russia.


Little Sasha celebrates his fourth birthday – this is the last photo taken of him
A heartbroken Anna Yakhno told The Sun that


A heartbroken Anna Yakhno tells The Sun that ‘the world must never forget Sasha’s name or the man responsible’ for her murder

His heartbroken mum Anna Yakhno spent 26 days not knowing if her son was alive.

The last photo taken of little Sasha showed him blowing out the candles on his cake for his fourth birthday.

The 25-year-old told The Sun: ‘The world must never forget Sasha’s name or the man responsible/’

Sasha was staying with her grandmother Zoya, 59, when Putin began his bloody invasion on February 24.

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Zoya’s home, 30 miles north of kyiv, was cut off within days as thousands of Russian troops poured south from neighboring Belarus.

She had no electricity, heating or running water and she and Sasha moved in with neighbors “because they were afraid of being alone”.

Anna said, “He was scared. He was waiting for us and he was like, ‘When is it going to end?’ »

But he was also thrilled about his fourth birthday, March 4.

Five days after her special day, Sasha called her mother for the last time.

Anna said, “He said, ‘Mom, don’t worry. I’ll drive over to you when they stop shooting.

They were surrounded on three sides, and the only way out by boat was to cross the six-mile-wide Dnieper Reservoir.

Anna said the world must never forget the terror and pain Russia unleashed on her country – and her devastated family.

And she has vowed to see Vladimir Putin stand trial in a war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Speaking for the first time since Sasha’s disappearance, she said: “All the death, all the terror that has happened in Ukraine, it cannot be forgotten.

“I want the world to remember Sasha and remember who did this to her. It was Russia. It was Putin. I can’t shoot a gun, but I can tell people the truth on this terrible war.

Anna has revealed the horrific moment she knew her son was dead – when she recognized him by his hand and little fingernails under a blanket used as a makeshift shroud.

But she wanted to remember her angelic boy, also called Sashenka, from the last time they were together, four days before the war.

Anna was sobbing, “I wasn’t so strong to see his face. I only saw his fingers, his fingernails.

“And yes, I understood that it was Sashenka.”

Sasha’s aunt Marina had bathed and dressed her body and placed it in a small white coffin as there was no one available to perform a religious ritual.

Anna added: “I will remember him for the rest of my life as he was four days before the war.

“If you were lucky enough to know Sasha, everyone said to me, ‘He’s the nicest kid in the world. The nicest.

“He loved everyone. When you asked him, ‘Who do you love best?’ He said: ‘I love you, everyone because you are my family.

“He loved toy cars and Legos. He had a lot of cars, you can’t imagine. There is no child in the world with so many cars.

Fighting back tears, she added, “He was the cutest kid in the world. And I say that, not because I’m his mother. Just because everyone who knew him loved him. And he loved everything. the world.

“If you had the chance to play with him, or communicate with him, and if he sensed that you were nice, he would say, ‘I love you.’

“He said ‘I love you’ to everyone he loves.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told world leaders about Sasha’s ordeal during his virtual world tour.

He said: “There was no other way to escape at the time – the Russian army blocked all the roads. They shot people on the roads. So the adults tried to escape them by the river.

Anna was terrified. She knew it was a last resort because Zoya couldn’t swim and had always been afraid of water.

They made their way to a pier as the sound of bomb explosions and gunfire rumbled around them.

I wasn’t strong enough to see his face. I only saw his fingers, his fingernails.

Anna Yakhno

Anna said the next day she tried to call Zoya but got no answer.

Anna was in another city, so Sasha’s father, also called Sasha, and Marina ran to the eastern shore of the reservoir where Sasha’s boat should have landed.

They learned that two boats had left but only one had arrived.

President Zelensky said one of the boats capsized after witnesses reported shelling.

Anna begged the emergency services to search the vast expanse of freezing water with a drone but they refused, saying it would be shot down.

On March 11, Sasha’s boat was discovered stranded on the west shore at Tolokun, about three miles downriver from where they left.

Beneath the overturned hull was the body of Olena Zhur, who had visited Zoya’s neighbors. She was lying dead at the edge of the water, a few meters away.

But Anna clung to the hope that Sasha was still alive.

He was the only one wearing a life jacket and she was praying that he had made it to shore and someone had taken him.

She thought the lack of power could mean the phones were down and rescuers had no way to call her.

Or maybe they didn’t know his parents were looking for him.

Anna said: “Day after day I waited. I had so many messages. All I did, morning till night, was read messages. Lots of posts from different people.

They included photos of another lost child.

Anna said, “But it wasn’t Sasha. So my hope was alive. I believed until the last day.

On March 30, the body of 20-year-old Christina Zhur was discovered at Yasnohorodkha, six miles downriver from the pier.

On March 31, the driver of the boat, Oleksii Gorodny, was found on the outskirts of kyiv, about 22 km beyond that of Christina.

But Anna still had hope.

Anna spent 26 days not knowing if her son Sasha was alive after he disappeared on a capsized boat as he tried to escape Putin's onslaught


Anna spent 26 days not knowing if her son Sasha was alive after he disappeared on a capsized boat as he tried to escape Putin’s onslaught
Anna says, “He was the cutest kid in the world.  And I say that, not because I'm his mother.  Simply because everyone who knew him loved him.  And he loved everyone'


Anna says, “He was the cutest kid in the world. And I say that, not because I’m his mother. Simply because everyone who knew him loved him. And he loved everyone’
Anna added: 'Sasha is an angel.  Maybe he's an angel of peace'


Anna added: ‘Sasha is an angel. Maybe he’s an angel of peace’Credit: Peter Jordan Commissioned by The Sun
Anna said: 'Vladimir Putin, stop the war.  I'll see you in The Hague'


Anna said: ‘Vladimir Putin, stop the war. I’ll see you in The Hague’Credit: Peter Jordan Commissioned by The Sun

She said: “I believed we would find Sasha alive. No way he’s not alive. Then on April 5, I was woken up at 8 a.m. by a call.

“I was afraid of the first calls. He was our friend from the village and he said ‘Anna, someone found a child’. He drove there in 30 minutes and brought it to our house. It was Sasha.

They buried him next to his grandmother Zoya.

Anna said: “They tried to run away from Russian troops, from the Russian world.

“Russia killed them. If they hadn’t occupied our territory, this wouldn’t have happened. I just want it to stop.

Two of the other passengers, Ihor Zhur and 18-year-old Dmytro Titok, who was Christina’s boyfriend, were found on April 19 and 25.

And the body of Andrei Gorodny, the eighth person on the boat, was found yesterday.

How they died remains a mystery and Anna said: “There is no one alive who can tell me what happened.

“I understand that I have to learn to live with this because this situation, this pain, will accompany me throughout my close life.

“Sacha is an angel. Maybe he is an angel of peace.

“Maybe my story will help. And if it helps one person, I’ll be really happy. If it helps thousands of people, I’ll think my life is worth something.”

Anna also had a simple message for the Russian president.

She said, “Vladimir Putin, stop the war. I’ll see you in The Hague.

“I don’t wish him death. I can’t wish for anything. His life is really ugly, and he won’t be the emperor he wants. Not at all.

“He will sit in The Hague and he will see me there.

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“His army came here and did this. They too are responsible.

“You will pay for it. They will pay for all Ukrainians.

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