As Ukraine leaves its communist past behind, around 800,000 children have been abandoned and left without a home.
FORCED into prostitution and struggling to survive on the street, these brutal pictures show the homeless children of Kiev who have been left abandoned after communism.
As Ukraine transitions from its communist past to a free market economy thousands of children have been left without a home and have turned to drugs and sniffing glue as a way of stopping them from feeling hungry.
A staggering 10 per cent of the country’s population are abandoned youngsters and often face abuse at the hands of the mafia and even each other.
Ukraine was formerly part of the Soviet Union and faced communist rule from 1922 until independence in 1991.
During this time, the state made provisions for all children, even if facilities were lacking.
However 25 years after the fall of communism with Ukraine moving towards a free market, children are being abandoned as families cannot afford to look after them.
Now it has left thousands of them on the streets and struggling to survive with many of them shunning life in government-run shelters.
They say they would rather be on the streets where they can beg passers-by for cash and also take drugs.
Among those living on the streets is 14-year-old Denise Selivanov who has been living on the streets for four years.
He often inhales glue in his temporary home – a bridge overpass on a busy railway line but he considers himself lucky after escaping with four of his friends after an early morning police raid that netted 18 children that were living there.
Also on the streets is 16-year-old Natasha Dzhuley, who has turned to prostitution and as a result has become pregnant.
She was beaten by her pimps in what her friend Ruslana believes was a warning to other prostitutes to stay in line.
While Sasha, 16, is forced to steal in order to get by and also takes to the streets to beg for money.
The punishment for these children who get caught stealing varies from beatings and arrest, to having the sewers set alight where they become unsuitable for the children to sleep in during the harsh winters.
Meanwhile Ukraine is facing fresh uncertainty as rebels backed by Russian president Vladimir Putin claim Ukrainian troops are preparing a massive assault on areas held by pro-Russian forces.
It comes after last year when as many as 40,000 Russian troops were reported to be massing on the country’s border with Ukraine – prompting fears of a new military invasion.