Vasyl, a 28-year-old senior lieutenant and paratrooper who joined Ukraine’s armed forces in 2014 as a fresh-faced 20-year-old, was killed by Russian forces on the southern front in Mykolaiv on March 3. Joseph said it took the army days to recover his body and move it to Duliby, a longtime family friend with a Cossack-style haircut. Vasil’s casket was closed. He was buried in a similar ceremony on March 9.
On March 13, Kyrillo, 35, was killed amid a barrage of Russian missiles that hit the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security in Jaworive, 10 miles from the border with Poland and which until last month hosted US troops.
After three weeks of heavy fighting, Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has intensified in recent days and spread across the country, with missiles and artillery hitting airports, military targets and residential areas. No region or city or village has remained untouched by Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine, the largest in Europe since World War II. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday that more than 1,300 of his soldiers had been killed so far.
While there is still no end in sight, talks with Moscow “sound more realistic,” Zelensky said earlier Wednesday.
“However, decisions still need time to be in Ukraine’s interests,” he said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that some parts of a potential peace deal were close to being agreed with Kyiv after he said he would discuss “neutrality”.
Kyrillo’s funeral began Tuesday morning in Lviv, where his body and that of three other soldiers – Oleh Yashchyshyn, Rostislav Romanchuk and Serhiy Melnyk – were brought in polished wooden caskets to the Baroque Saints Peter and Paul Garrison Church.
Hundreds of mourners who had gathered to pay their respects took turns approaching the caskets, touching them and placing large bouquets of flowers on them. Many made the sign of the cross, looked up, and prayed under their breath. Mothers hugged the caskets holding their boys as priests doused them in holy water.