They were killed by Russia: Elderly people who died due to the war

Agency of media ABO
They were killed by Russia: Elderly people who died due to the war

With the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the ABO Local Media Development Agency created the Memorial: Killed by Russia. The memorial commemorates the names of civilians and soldiers who died due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. "We have created this memorial so that you can learn about everyone killed by the Russian army," the media notes. 

In cooperation with Memorial: Killed by Russia, Svidomi tells about the elderly people who died due to the war.

Zinaiida Safonova died on May 30, 2022, in the village of Lozove, Donetsk region. The woman's heart gave out when the Russian military placed a Grad rocket launcher near her house and started shooting.

"She got terrified... And she died. They killed her," said her grandson Serhii.

Zinaiida Safonova was born and spent her entire life in Lozove, working in agriculture. She spent her childhood during the Second World War. Zinaiida was injured during air strikes on the village when a little girl.

"A Soviet plane dropped a bomb on the village where Romanian troops were stationed at the time, but both then and now, they bombed regular people. My grandmother was wounded in the leg, and she miraculously did not lose it; the bone was broken," Serhii said.

Mykola Mamchur was 80 years old. Russian soldiers killed him on February 25, 2022, with a shot to the chest. It happened near Mykola's home in Hostomel. The man's house was located near the bridge over the Irpin River, which was blown up to prevent the Russians from advancing on Kyiv.

Mykola's wife was staying with relatives at the time. After the bridge was blown up, his son Dmytro and his family went downstairs to the basement. Before that, the son still saw his father, who lived in another part of the house. They were planning to leave together. 

"We were waiting for my father, but he didn't come. We could not go outside; it was dangerous. Shells were exploding both in the yard and the air. Military equipment was burning near the yard. We hoped that my father had managed to run to a neighbour's house or across the street to his brother's house. We thought he would stay there and come back. But when he was gone by the evening, we realised something had happened," said Dmytro Mamchur.

Mykola Mamchur's body was found near the yard on February 28. His son and a neighbour brought him into the yard. An hour later, the family left the village under constant shelling.

Mykola grew up in a family of indigenous residents of Hostomel, where they raised seven children. He spent his entire life in the village. His mother lived in Hostomel until she was 98 years old. And her sister turned 106. Before retiring, Mykola worked at the Vetropack Glassworks. He loved fishing and travelling with his son.

"He took me on trips everywhere. One of the first tours was to Kaniv, the Taras Shevchenko Museum. After that, we travelled all over Ukraine. We were in Moldova, in Brest. He showed me everything that was near us that could be shown, and he showed me everything. My father loved nature. He used to pick mushrooms. He worked in the garden until the last moment, growing strawberries. He was strong for his age. No one believed he was already 80. If it weren't for the war, he would have lived to be 100," Dmytro said.

The Mamchur family home was destroyed during the hostilities after the family left.

The battle for Moshchun in March 2022 was one of the most critical battles of the Kyiv defence. The village is on the way to the capital, near the Irpin River. On March 11, the Russians launched a massive assault on Moshchun. On that day, pensioner Vasyl Dukhota was killed during the shelling. He was 71 years old. After the outbreak of full-scale war, Vasyl did not want to leave his village.

"On March 5, my mother and my older sister left Moshchun, but my father refused to go. I didn't leave either, but then constant shelling started, I saw a neighbouring house burning, and our house shook. On March 7, I persuaded my husband to leave for Kyiv through Pushcha-Vodytsia. My father never wanted to leave the house. We learnt about his death around March 19-20, as there was no contact with Moshchun. We were told that he died on March 11. He went to the neighbours to charge his phone. He came out into the yard, and at that moment, a shell hit the neighbouring house. The debris killed my father," said Oksana, his younger daughter.

Vasyl Dukhota was born in Russia, in the Perm region. His father ended up in Russia during the Second World War, where he got married. But he always wanted to return to his homeland village of Moshchun. So in 1974, he, his wife and children settled in the village and built a house there. Vasyl graduated as an agronomist. He worked as a forester until he retired. He and his wife Mariia lived together for almost 50 years; a few months before their "golden wedding", the man was a few months short of his "golden wedding".

"We think of him every day. He was not afraid of anything, even under shelling. When I was scared to leave the house, he would run to the shop at the end of the village," Oksana said.

The shelling destroyed Vasyl's house. The summer kitchen and garage burned to the ground.

Alla Kovalova died in Izium. The shelling on March 8 and 9, 2022, destroyed her house. Alla's children, daughter Svitlana and son Viktor, were killed along with her. 

Alla worked at the Izium Instrument-Making Plant. After retirement, she did the housework and took care of the house. 

Granddaughter Viktoriia says: "My grandmother and aunt spent a lot of time at home and in the garden. They didn't just work there. They loved it. My grandmother was very generous. Whenever I came, she always had some gifts for me: pies, ice cream."

Three days before the tragedy, the family had the opportunity to leave Izium, but Svitlana and Alla refused. The family recalls that they believed staying home was safer than travelling along the roads where Russian troops were shooting at civilian cars. Finally, Alla's son persuaded his wife and daughter to leave the city, but he stayed behind to support his mother and sister.

Alla and her children had two funerals. The first one was in late March in graves with numbers in the Izium forest. Then, on September 19, the bodies were exhumed. Then, after identification procedures, the family buried Alla, Svitlana and Viktor for the second time, officially, on February 8, 2023.

Vira Stalynska died on March 13, 2022. The Russian military shelled a residential area of the city, and a Russian shell hit her house. The building caught fire, and Vira died in the fire. Three days before her death, Vira's grandmother had a birthday.

Vira Stalynska was born in the village of Kramchanka. She studied at the Kharkiv Agricultural College. After the birth of her daughter, she settled in Okhtyrka. She worked in the road sector as a forewoman of a construction team. 

"All the wards respected her because my grandmother was kind, cheerful, sociable, and always helped others. In addition, she was a good seamstress, knew a lot about agriculture, and loved to grow all sorts of things in the garden," said her granddaughter Yulia. 

When she retired, Vira loved spending time with her family. She had five grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.