Support our mission

As Ukrainians huddled together in a dimly lit bomb shelter in Kyiv, seeking safety from deadly explosions and chaos overhead, one young girl wearing a sweater decorated with silver stars began to sing.

She was scared at first, worried that her voice would not be heard over the commotion inside the crowded bunker.

But the sound of her singing “Let It Go” from the 2013 Disney movie “Frozen” pierced the uncertainty and fear, drowning out the sound of babies crying and adults chatting.

“Не боюсь ничего уже,” the girl sang in Russian that translates to: “I’m not afraid of anything anymore.”

The moment, which brought tears from several in the bunker, was captured and uploaded to Facebook by Marta Smekhova, who detailed the exchanges taking place among those in hiding.

The video has been viewed more than 3 million times by people around the world, including American actress and singer Idina Menzel, who was the voice of the character Elsa in the movie.

“We see you,” Menzel tweeted, sharing a clip of the girl.

“We really, really see you,” Menzel wrote, followed by two heart emoji — one blue and one yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

According to Smekhova, the young girl, named Amelia, has a passion for music and came across as “sociable” and “talkative.”

“She told me that she loves to sing,” Smekhova wrote in the post, which was first shared March 3. The young girl also whispered that she “dreams of singing on a big stage in front of an audience,” Smekhova said.

Smekhova said she had encouraged the girl to sing — with the permission of her mother.

“From her first word in the bomb shelter, there was complete silence. ... Everyone put down what they were doing and listened to the song,” Smekhova recalled in the Facebook post, which began in Ukrainian and then switched to Russian when she began directly addressing the Russian people.

Two million people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began, according to the United Nations.

“Look, Russians, against whom you are fighting,” she wrote. “Our children radiate light, and even in a damp dark basement it does not fade, but flares up even brighter!”

“Let It Go,” which was voiced by Menzel along with the character Elsa, became a global phenomenon, winning the 2014 Oscar for best original song. The Russian version of the song, which Amelia performed, has been viewed more than 88 million times on YouTube since it was first uploaded in December 2013.

In response to what it called Russia’s “unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis,” a spokesperson for the Walt Disney Co. said in a statement earlier this month that it would suspend theatrical releases in Russia, including the Pixar film “Turning Red.”

“We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation,” the company said, adding that it was working with nongovernmental organizations to supply “urgent aid” to those affected by the crisis.

As Amelia finished singing, people inside the bomb shelter clapped and cheered. She smiled and stepped down from the chair she had been standing on — her very first public performance.


Stripes in 7

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up