Russia killed them: They didn't even have a chance to finish school

Agency of media ABO
Russia killed them: They didn't even have a chance to finish school

With the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the ABO media development agency created the project "Memorial: Killed by Russia." The Memorial preserves the names of civilians and military personnel who died as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. "We created this memorial so that you can learn about everyone who was killed by the Russian army," the media says.

Svidomi, in collaboration with "Memorial: Killed by Russia," tells about teenagers who died due to the Russian invasion.

Dmytro Rudnytskyi was less than two months away from his 12th birthday. On July 1, the 7th grader was at his parents' workplace, the Goji recreation centre in Serhiivka. In the morning, Russian troops launched a missile attack on the base, which took the boy's and his mother Nadiia’s lives.

"It is hard to imagine that we will no longer see the talented and charismatic Dmytro, who was very generously gifted by nature and could have been of great benefit to his people in the future, or hear his cheerful laughter and witty jokes," says a member of staff at the school where Dmytro studied.

She also added that Dmytro Rudnytskyi dreamed of hiking Hoverla after the war ended. "We will try to fulfil your dream when the war is over. And we will send you greetings from everywhere because you are still with us and in our hearts," Dmytro's classmates write.

They add that the boy was the head of the class in their studies and entertainment. "You were the one who came up with our mantra: 'Don't be sad, take a bagel'," they recall.

Arsenii Kalabin, a 14-year-old from Kyiv, died on February 28, 2022, in the village of Kukhari. During Russian shelling, the child received a shrapnel wound to the head. According to a relative, Oksana Lukianenko, doctors could not get to Kukhari. After the injury, Arsenii lived for two more hours.

On February 24, 2022, his family took Arsenii to this village to keep him safe. However, Kukhari turned out to be on the Russian offensive way.

"I knew Arsenii. He was kind, positive, cheerful... I taught physical education at Senia's [Arsenii's] school. Every morning when we met, we hugged each other. His smile and him asking me how I felt boosted my mood for the day. I can't believe this war is taking our children," his teacher Antonina says.

On February 28, 2022, his aunt Maryna tried to take Arsenii's body to Kyiv. Her car was shot at, and the woman died.

14-year-old Hlib Zheldak died on March 3, 2022, in Chernihiv. An air raid by the Russian army destroyed the house on the city's outskirts where the boy was staying with his family. When Hlib was rescued from the rubble, his heart was still beating, but they could not save the child.

His father, Mykhailo, sister Polina, grandmother Halyna, and his sister's fiancé, Yevhenii Kovalenko, died too.

Hlib was in the 8th grade. He was fond of sports. Together with his father, he collected music CDs and knives. In his spare time, he played computer games. He loved evening walks in the city. During the full-scale invasion, he helped men from the territorial defence to set up checkpoints and carry sand.

"Hlib had a strong sense of justice. He could not remain silent if someone offended someone. When the full-scale war started, my son gave everyone in the family knives from his collection. He said that we could defend ourselves with them," his mother says.

On June 21, 13-year-old Anastasiia Pokhilko was killed by a Russian shell. Russians killed her during another shelling of Lysychansk with heavy artillery. Shrapnel hit the girl's head.

According to locals, the girl's mother has a mental illness, so Anastasiia was taken to a Sievierodonetsk boarding school. When the full-scale war broke out, her aunt took the girl in: "Her life was not a bed of roses. She was interested in mobile and computer games. She dreamed of being a hairdresser or a cook," Vira, the girl's aunt, says.

Anastasiia volunteered at the humanitarian centre to be helpful after the full-scale invasion began.

"A girl came and offered her help. I told the volunteers to check her out and, if she was okay, to let her work as an assistant," volunteer Mykhailo says. The girl received food packages in return for her work, which helped her family a lot.

The family buried the deceased Anastasiia Pokhilko in the house yard.

On March 9, 2022, 15-year-old Anna Chumak died trying to evacuate from Chernihiv, systematically shelled by Russian troops. Her uncle picked up the girl, her mother, and family friends from the city. Russian soldiers shot the car they were in behind the village of Kolychivka. Anna, her mother, uncle, and friends died on the spot.

The girl was in 10th grade at Chernihiv Lyceum School No. 11. Her grandmother, Valentyna Chumak, says Anna was romantic. She loved to walk in nature and dream. The girl was fond of reading, drawing, embroidery, and beadwork. She also loved animals a lot. Anna wanted to evacuate her dog, but he died with her.

"She wanted to enroll in the veterinary university to treat animals or to do painting," her grandmother says.

"Anechka [Anna] was our sun. I was a happy grandmother with her. She helped me with everything. We picked mushrooms together, we went to the river. We dreamed, planned, talked, and loved life together. I cannot believe you are gone. Everything reminds me of you: drawings, crafts, your things. Thank you for being in my life. And for staying with me in my memories. You are the best. You and your mum and uncle, my son, will always be in our hearts, memory, and prayers," the grandmother writes.