They were killed by Russia: warrior-artists who died defending Ukraine

They were killed by Russia: warrior-artists who died defending Ukraine

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. 

In collaboration with Memorial: Killed by Russia, Svidomi tells the story of warrior-artists who died fighting for Ukraine.

On March 5, 2022, 26-year-old volunteer Artem Azarov, with the call sign "Artist", died in the battles for Kharkiv, his hometown, during an enemy mortar attack.

Artem graduated from the Kharkiv Art School. Later he entered the Kharkiv State Academy of Design and Fine Arts but studied only four courses before the outbreak of full-scale war. 

He took part in the creation and activities of the military-patriotic organisation Freikorps. He was a volunteer, and since 2017, he completed six rotations to the east. With the beginning of the full-scale invasion, he went back to fight and was a squad leader.

Artem's fiancée, Olha Klymenko, and his father created a memorial website. Olha also continues to restore his paintings and wants to implement his sketches.

"This is what I have to do, my mission. All my dreams and plans lost their meaning when he died. I didn't understand why I stayed for a long time. Then, when I remembered our conversation, where he talked about his sketches and dreams, I pulled myself together and started to make them come true," she said.

26-year-old ballet dancer and soldier Vadym Khlupianets, call sign Magnum, died on November 15, 2022, during the hostilities near Bakhmut.

Vadym was born in Donetsk. He graduated from the Kyiv Choreographic College. He worked as a ballet dancer at the Kyiv National Academic Theatre of Operetta and participated in the theatre's sports life. After the occupation of Donetsk in 2014, he moved to the Zhytomyr region. In 2017, he was recognised as the best scorer in a mini-football tournament among theatre teams in Kyiv.

When the full-scale war began, he stood up to defend Ukraine, first as part of the Territorial Defence, then joined the National Guard of Ukraine. 

"Eternal memory! Rest in peace, my partner on Dorian... How long can this war take away our best guys, real fighters?" wrote his colleague Daria Tsypa.

Musician and aerial reconnaissance man Maksym Ostiak, call sign Ostin, died on 4 July 2022 in the Kharkiv region while performing a combat mission.

Maksym was born in Poltava. He graduated as a civil engineer from National University Yuri Kondratiuk Poltava Polytechnic. He travelled all over Ukraine and the world. He worked at the Kyiv History Museum. He was the lead singer of the band Reve ta Stohne. 

In February 2014, he was an active participant in the Revolution of Dignity. When the full-scale war started, he volunteered. He was assigned to the aerial reconnaissance unit of The Carpathian Sich 49th Infantry Battalion.

Five days before he was sent to the front, Maksym met Kateryna. 

"50 days. Only 50 days were given to us by fate. 5 out of 50 [days] we were together. Touch to touch, eye to eye, never parting. From the first meeting to the last. Then he went to the front. He went straight to the hottest sites. And there he danced the hopak in an armoured car with a machine gun. Ostin was a man of fierce energy, incredible charisma, unbreakable thirst for justice and conscious life in a free and independent state," says Kateryna Stavytska.

"He told the girl: "My dear, I am immortal... don't worry."

"On the night of July 3-4, Max warned me that he was going on an important mission and would be out of touch for about five days. I wrote to him about my feelings, and he asked: "Can I post this?" That was his last post on Facebook... 12 days later, I received a call from his military companion. "Max is gone... He died immediately," Kateryna added.

Ukrainian ballet star Oleksandr Shapoval died on 12 September 2022 in a battle near Mayorsk, Donetsk region. The 47-year-old artist served as a grenade launcher in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Oleksandr was born in Kyiv and studied at the Kyiv State Professional Choreographic College. He was a ballet dancer at the Shevchenko National Opera of Ukraine. In addition, he taught duet and classical dance at the college. In 2013, he was awarded the title of Merited Artist of Ukraine. 

When the full-scale war began, he joined the Territorial Defence Forces. His fellow soldiers called him Shapik.

"He was an outstanding artist; each of our performances was filled with such life... Because he was one of the few, who lived on stage... And now his dance has become eternal..." wrote his colleague, ballerina Kateryna Kukhar.

"I would have gone on stage with you a million more times in a confrontation just to keep you from your last one... It's impossible to believe that you are gone! One of the best people, an actor in our theatre, Oleksandr Mykolaiovych Shapoval. An extraordinary man with a crystal clear soul. It hurts... Rest in peace, my friend!" wrote ballet dancer Oleksandr Stoianov.

Ukrainian poet and senior sergeant of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Artem Dovhopolyi died on August 4, 2022, in a battle near Bakhmut. He was 28 years old.

Artem was born in Konotop. He studied railway engineering at the Konotop Institute and then graduated from the Kharkiv State University of Railway Transport.

While studying, he wrote poetry. He was a member of the Konotop literary studio "Dzherela" and a winner of competitions. In addition, he had a talent for repairing musical instruments and playing the guitar. He has publications in the collective collections Konotop Molodyi [Young] (2009) and Dzherel Natkhnenna Syla [Inspirational Power of Springs] (2013). 

After graduation, he joined the State Border Guard Service. On February 13, 2022, Dovhopolyi's contract expired. However, on March 1, he returned to defend Ukraine. He did so as part of the 58th Separate Motorised Infantry Brigade, named after Hetman Ivan Vyhovskyi. 

"Artem was a wonderful poet, winner of numerous competitions, and attended the Konotop literary studio Dzherela. In 2015, he became one of the winners of the regional competition for young writers, and I was pleased to include his poems in the collection Orpheus 2015. Today, they sound completely different," Serhii Piatachenko wrote.