This Ukrainian Mother Buried Both Of Her Sons Just Six Days Apart

Pete Kiehart for BuzzFeed News

Natalia Bodnar, Ahafiya Vyshyvana and Mariana Lopushanska mourn the deaths of their brothers, sons and boyfriends on March 15, 2022, respectively, in Duliby, Ukraine.

DULIBY, Ukraine – During this month’s six-day window, Ahafiya Vyshyvana buried both of her sons, Vasyl and Kyrylo Vyshyvaniy, side by side, in plots dedicated to her and the boys’ father. The roses piled on top of Vasyl’s grave had barely wilted before she laid Kyrylo on the ground on Tuesday.

The entire village of Duliby, located in western Ukraine and home to 3,000 people, gathered to pay their respects to the eldest brother. Hands clasped in prayer, they lined the streets as melon traders carried Kyrylo’s body into a small wooden church. The priests chanted the hymn “Sorrowful Mother” about Kyrylo’s courage and said he had made the ultimate sacrifice for his country and people. A choir sings funeral hymns. The lips of the good soldiers in uniform trembled. A sweet fragrance wafted through the air.

The mourners then moved in a solemn procession from the church to the village cemetery, past those standing and kneeling outside their homes. When they stopped at the graveyard, young soldiers in neat uniforms played trumpets and made the customary gun salute, firing four shots into the air. The explosions of rifles startled some of the war-weary among the crowd. Many put their hands over their hearts and sang the national anthem, which begins with the line “The glory and freedom of Ukraine has not perished.”

Pete Kiehart for BuzzFeed News

Service members carry the coffin of Ukrainian soldier Kyrylo Vyshyvaniy after a funeral on March 15, 2022, in Duliby, Ukraine.

Pete Kiehart for BuzzFeed News

A Ukrainian service worker holds a portrait of Kyrylo Vyshyvaniy outside his funeral service at the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul on March 15, 2022, in Lviv, Ukraine.

Vasyl, a 28-year-old lieutenant and paratrooper who first joined the Ukrainian armed forces at the age of 20 in 2014, was killed by Russian troops on the southern front in Mykolayiv on March 3. The picture goes like this. Josef, a longtime family friend with Cossack hair, said it took days for the army to retrieve his body and evacuate to Duliby. Vasyl’s coffin is sealed. He was buried in a similar ceremony on March 9.

On March 13, Kyrylo, 35 years old, died in a series of Russian missiles attacked the Center for International Peace and Security in Yavoriv, ​​a town 10 miles from the border with Poland that hosted US troops until last month.

After three weeks of fierce fighting, Russia Full-scale invasion of Ukraine has intensified and spread across the country in recent days, with rockets and artillery hitting airports, military targets and residential areas. Almost yes no region, nor city, nor the village, is still intact by Vladimir Putin’s fight against Ukraine, the largest war in Europe since the Second World War. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday said more than 1,300 of his soldiers have been killed so far.

While there is still no conclusion, Zelensky said early Wednesday that talks with Moscow are starting to “sound more realistic”.

“However, it still takes time for decisions to be in Ukraine’s favour,” he added.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that some parts of a potential peace deal were close to being reached with Kyiv after the country said it would discuss “neutrality”.

Funeral for Kyrylo began Tuesday morning in Lviv, where his body and the bodies of three other soldiers – Oleh Yashchyshyn, Rostyslav Romanchuk, and Serhiy Melnyk – were taken in polished wooden coffins to the Cathedral Baroque Saints Peter and Paul Garrison.

Hundreds of mourners who had gathered there to pay their respects took turns approaching the coffins, touching them and placing large bouquets of flowers atop them. Many people make the sign of the cross, look up, and murmur in prayer under their breath. Mothers holding boxes were holding their sons as priests watered them with holy water.

Pete Kiehart for BuzzFeed News

Family members mourn before holding funerals for 4 service members killed in the March 13 attack on the Yavoriv military complex at Saints Peter and Paul Garrison Church on March 15, 2022 , in Lviv, Ukraine.

Pete Kiehart for BuzzFeed News

A funeral procession brings the casket of Ukrainian soldier Kyrylo Vyshyvaniy to its final resting place at a nearby cemetery on March 15, 2022, in Duliby, Ukraine.

As air raid sirens and warnings to shelters rang out from Lviv’s city hall in the midst of the funeral, mourners firmly stood their ground and continued to sing.

Yashchyshyn, Romanchuk and Melnyk were laid to rest in Lviv’s historic Lychakiv Cemetery. But Kyrylo was loaded into the back of a hearse and driven 35 miles southwest to Duliby to be buried next to his brother.

After nearly two hours, the blue-yellow Ukrainian flag that covered Kyrylo’s coffin throughout the day was folded up by a Ukrainian military officer and given to Vyshyvana.

“Accept this flag as a symbol of the state your son has faithfully served to the end,” the policeman told Vyshyvana, who was too distraught to accept it and postponed it to a member. family member.

It took up to 20 minutes of alternating 10 people to fill Kyrylo’s sweat. Vyshyvana cried non-stop the whole time and at one point she fell to her knees and fell on Vasyl’s grave. “What’s wrong? Exchange me for them! Please give me!” she cried.

“We are very proud of the boys. The country is so proud of you,” she repeated until she died and the words faded into a cold whisper.

Pete Kiehart for BuzzFeed News

Men fill the grave of Ukrainian soldier Kyrylo Vyshyvaniy on March 15, 2022, in Duliby, Ukraine.

Pete Kiehart for BuzzFeed News

Ahafiya Vyshyvana, mother of the deceased, holds Mariana Lopushanska, girlfriend of Vasyl Vyshyvaniy, as she collapses in grief beside his grave as his brother, Kyrylo Vyshyvaniy, is buried in the ground on March 15 2022, in Duliby, Ukraine.

Beside her, wearing a black headscarf was Mariana Lopushanska, Vasyl’s girlfriend. Overwhelmed, she fainted and fell at the foot of his grave.

Halyna, a neighbor, said of the Vyshyvaniy boys: “God takes the best.

Mr. Josef said Vasyl loves to play football and used to join the local team when he was young. Vasyl joined the army in 2014 and fought in eastern Ukraine, he said. Kyrylo, 35, supports the decision and in 2017 also joined the armed forces.

“We grew up together. We are a very close family. He’s not just my brother. He’s my friend as much as he is my brother,” Kyrylo said. told the New York Times after Vasyl’s funeral.

Their older sister, Natalia Bodnar, told BuzzFeed News she helped raise her brothers and said the boys often joke and laugh together. Bodnar said she spoke with Kyrylo for the last time on Saturday. She said he was worried about their mother and her health. After Vasyl’s death, she was briefly hospitalized.

Kyrylo died the next morning, just before sunrise. He was one of 35 people killed in the Yavoriv attack; Another 134 people were injured.

Captain Roman Bilyakovskiy told BuzzFeed News at Kyrylo’s funeral that he last saw his friend inside a building at the training center when the attack took place. He said Kyrylo told him to run for safety while he stayed behind to help others. Bilyakovskiy said that a moment later, the building was hit by a direct missile and Kyrylo was buried under the rubble. The rest of the day to explore his body.

Kyrylo survived with his wife and infant daughter.

Bodnar said Kyrylo was serious the last time they spoke and he told her the fact that he believes he will soon be with Vasyl in the afterlife.

“He said to me, ‘You can bury me next to Vasyl,’ she said.

Pete Kiehart for BuzzFeed News

The graves of Ukrainian soldiers Kyrylo and Vasyl Vyshyvaniy are seen after the two veterans were buried on March 15, 2022, in Duliby, Ukraine.

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