The boys wear second-hand helmets and their guns cannot kill, but the war they play in a verdant Ukraine field is real for them and carries consequences.

Over a year into Russia's invasion, the fighting has seeped into Ukrainian children's games and worldviews, impacting them in ways they will carry forever.

"I really enjoy playing war. I want to grow up to be a real war hero," said 10-year-old Maksym Mudrak, wearing child-size battle fatigues, a beat-up helmet too big for his head and a plastic toy gun.