Ukraine's young circus artists wow in Budapest

STORY: Dressed in Ukrainian colors under bright lights... 13-year-old circus acrobat Mariia Kravchenko dazzles an audience in Hungary.

It's a much different setting than her home in Dnipro... where she practiced in unheated shelters while a war raged around her.

"...I was training with air raid sirens and it was hard."

Kravchenko is performing at Budapest's Capital Circus along with young acrobats from Kharkiv, Kyiv, Odesa and Donetsk - as part of a Ukrainian youth circus festival to showcase their talent.

The Ukrainian artists are between 6 and 17.

They gave more than 30 performances alongside competitors from around the world.

Peter Fekete is the circus’ director.

He said all regular programs were stopped for two days in January and the keys to the circus were handed to the Ukrainians.

"In this war situation we are struggling for their survival so that there is a goal to live for tomorrow, so there is something that makes it worth going down again to the shelter and doing that daily dose of 50 push-ups, this is what we can provide some help for."

Before the war the Yaskrava Arena Dnipra international children's circus festival was held every year in Dnipro.

Since it began in 2010, more than 1,000 young artists have participated, with the winners regularly advancing to international festivals.

For Kravchenko, she is focusing on her art in relative peace... while she can.

"I feel safer here. It is much easier for me here to have my training and to perform because I do not hear alarms and explosions. It is much quieter here. I am happy that I have an opportunity to be in a place without explosions and alarms. Even just for several days."