1968 to 2022
[Editor’s Note: In an effort to honor the heroism of the Ukrainian people, the following story, written by Sudarsan Raghavan, is reprinted from the Washington Post. Photos by Heidi Levine.]
Families bury the dead as Ukraine counts war casualties
KYIV, Ukraine — Even as the boom of outgoing artillery shells sounded every minute, Oksana Shlonska was determined to bury her husband. He was killed by gunfire last Sunday, but the war had prevented his final rites. First, the autopsy took days due to the numerous corpses arriving at the morgue. Then, on Thursday, a Grad missile crashed near the gravesite in Kyiv, forcing the mourners to flee. “The Russians shelled even the cemetery,” said Shlonska, 52. “They fear even our dead.”
On Friday, despite the danger, she was going to try again to pay her last respects to her 54-year-old husband, Volodymyr Nezhenets, a child psychologist who signed up last week to fight against Russia and was fatally shot in a gun battle not too far from the cemetery. “It is important for me to bury him today,” she said as she waited in the morning at the morgue to claim his remains. In her arms, she clutched a portrait of him.