"Unbridled grief": a Ukrainian woman burying her husband and young son after a strike

Sloviansk: After Russian airstrikes last week, rescuers spent hours frantically searching for Anastasia Komarista's two-year-old son among the debris of their east Ukraine apartment block. To find her husband, they then dug.

Days after the barrage that killed her family, destroyed her home, and forced her to face the cost of Russia's brutal invasion, she buried them both again on Wednesday.

In a soggy cemetery outside of her hometown of Sloviansk, which sloped down to a river, Komarista sobbed over their coffins and begged them to forgive her for living.

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Pardon me! Pardon me! I'd rather not be here. She screamed, pale and dazed in black clothing, supported by stern and stoic relatives, "I want to be lying next to you."

She yelled, looking up at the sky, which was resonating with the dull thuds of distant artillery, "I prayed to God to save you!"

On the top floor of her Soviet-era building in a quiet residential area, Komarista's flat was torn apart by the deadly Russian attack last Friday evening.

Sloviansk, a frontline city of approximately 110,000 people, is a part of the industrial Donetsk region, which Vladimir Putin, the leader of Russia, claims is a part of his country.

When the missiles hit, Komarista was at the nearby gym. Her 29-year-old husband Sergei was caring for their son Maksym while his uncle dropped by.
Minutes after the attack, AFP reporters on the scene heard a woman yelling and observed rescuers throwing a burned pram from the destroyed fourth floor while searching for survivors.

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The street below was covered in concrete dust and shattered glass, and homes across the street that had been hit by shrapnel sent up plumes of black smoke. Crayon drawings made by kids, torn pages from books, and pieces of concrete littered the ground, even around a playground in the courtyard.

Even though the two-year-old was saved from the wreckage, he passed away in the ambulance. Around a hundred mourners carrying candles gathered in the church in Sloviansk to say goodbye to Maksym and his father. The church still had Easter decorations hanging from it.

The priest officiating the ceremony said, "Unbridled grief has befallen this family. the entire city, not just this family. What words could possibly be comforting in this circumstance?

Maksym's coffin, which was adorned with blue and white silk, was so small that it could be carried by just two men. Both coffins were positioned beneath a sizable mural depicting Moscow's Red Square's renowned Saint Basil's Cathedral.  A persistent issue from the conflict is that the Russian church still oversees the Orthodox cathedral in Sloviansk.

According to a death notice posted online, friends described Sergei as "easy-going and empathetic." He also repaired phones, sold accessories, and participated in a local football team.

"We hope that Pele and Maradona are now with you. No words can adequately express our sorrow or our loss, friends wrote in an open message.

S-300 missiles are made to destroy hostile air targets, such as enemy missiles or aircraft. Each one of Russia's vast stocks is expensive, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In its assault on Sloviansk on Friday, Russia fired eight shots. The barrage left 15 people dead and numerous others hurt.

The Kremlin has insisted that Kyiv is to blame for the prolongation of civilian suffering in Ukraine by rejecting negotiations and has repeatedly stated that its forces do not target residential areas.

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Prosecutors in Ukraine estimate that in addition to Maksym, the Kremlin's invasion has killed about 470 kids. They claim that the figure might be higher.

The attack was called "brutal" by President Volodymyr Zelensky, who also claimed that it was yet another instance of how Russia "ruins and destroys all life."

The priest urged the sobbing mourners holding roses to have faith in a better future as they carried the coffins to the burial site outside of Sloviansk while incense hung in the air. Undoubtedly, a period of peace will come. This sadness will undoubtedly pass.


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