As Russian forces occupied Kyiv Oblast, a son was forced to bury his dead mother in his backyard.Genadyi’s mom lived through the German occupation of Ukraine as a child. Vinnizka Zoya Pavlovna lived in Donetsk and stayed there until the Russians invaded in 2014. As they fled Eastern Ukraine, they were boarding a bus near the airport where they lived. Suddenly gunfire erupted and the bus driver was spooked. He started to drive too early and Vinnizka was dragged under the wheels and was severely injured.
She needed multiple surgeries and became fully disabled, eventually also being diagnosed with dementia. They moved to Irpin three years ago, seeking some kind of refuge from the war-torn Donbas region, and living near the much safer and modern city of Kyiv. During the early days of the 2022 invasion, as millons fled West from Kyiv and battles raged in the cities and towns just north of the capital, Genadyi was stuck in Irpin with his mother.
He said they had multiple people die just outside of their home. In the first days they were allowed to go outside and help the elderly, but it quickly became dangerous as Russian soldiers would shoot indiscriminately at whoever was outside.“On March 5th, tank drove right in here, it was just destroying all the houses here. House next door is completely burned down. He was just shooting at everything. Riding in circles and shooting for about 5 hours…”
No one could be buried. When Vinnizka Zoya Pavlovna finally passed, hiding in her basement from another occupation of her country. Genadyi could only bury her in his enclosed backyard.
Now a couple weeks after the Russians have retreated from Irpin and Bucha, those who survived are left to put their lives back together.
“We used to pick up bodies that were laying on the side of the street, now we started on more difficult cases.”
Vlodomyr is exhuming Vinnizka’s body so it can be buried in a proper cemetery.
“We personally are doing about three exhumations per day,” he said.
“People who raise their guns at other people, it’s incomprehensible,” say’s Genadyi, as his mother is buried on a gray, cold, and rainy morning. “When I was in the USSR army, I was taught to help those weaker than me. Thats how I tried to lead my life, protecting the weak.”
Genadyi said his final goodbye, his mothers body now laying in Irpin cemetery, along with many other victims of this war.
Video by Oliya Scootercaster (FNTV Freedomnews.tv)