VINNYTSIA, Ukraine — Beautiful and serene in a wreath of white flowers, Liza Dmytrieva, 4, who was killed by a Russian missile strike, was buried in central Ukraine on Sunday as an Orthodox priest burst into tears and told his loved ones in tears that “evil cannot win”. ”
Liza, who has Down syndrome, was on her way to see a speech therapist with her mother when Russian missiles hit the town of Vinnytsia, far from the front lines, on Thursday. At least 24 people were killed, including Liza and two boys aged 7 and 8, and more than 200 were injured, including Liza’s mother.
“Look, my flower! Look how many people have come to you,” Liza’s grandmother, Larysa Dmytryshyna, said as she stroked Liza as she lay in an open coffin with flowers and teddy bears in the Transfiguration Cathedral in the city. 18th century Vinnytsia.
Liza’s father, Artem Dmytriev, remained silent, tears streaming down his face.
Liza’s mother, Iryna Dmytrieva, 33, remained in an intensive care unit in serious condition. The family did not tell her that Liza was buried on Sunday, fearing it would affect her condition.
“Your mom didn’t even see how beautiful you look today,” Dmytryshyna said, crying.
Helena Sydorenko, a longtime family friend, said Liza’s mother “invested a lot of effort into socializing Liza.”
“She wanted her child to have a full life,” Sydorenko added.
When the war started, Dmytrieva and her family fled Kyiv, the capital, for Vinnytsia, a town 270 kilometers (167 miles) to the southwest, which until Thursday was considered relatively safe.
Shortly before the explosion, Dmytrieva posted a video on social media showing her daughter struggling to reach the handlebars to push her own stroller, walking happily through Vinnytsia, wearing a denim jacket and white pants. , hair adorned with a barrette.
After the Russian missile attack, Ukrainian emergency services shared photos showing her lifeless body on the ground next to her bloodstained stroller. The first lady of Ukraine remembered how cheerful and happy the little girl was when she met her. Videos and photos have gone viral, the latest footage of the brutal war in Ukraine has horrified the world.
Liza’s closest relatives sat on both sides of the coffin, and many more crowded into the Orthodox cathedral in Vinnytsia to pay their last respects to the girl.
“I didn’t know Liza, but no one can go through this calmly,” Orthodox priest Vitalii Holoskevych said, bursting into tears. ”Because every funeral is a sorrow for all of us. We are losing our brothers and sisters.”
He stopped and continued in a shaky voice, “We know evil cannot win.”
Later, in a windswept cemetery, relatives and friends bid farewell to Liza under gray skies.
“You really liked this song, you danced every day. This song is ringing for you now,” said Dmytrushyna, Liza’s grandmother. The song was “Oh, the red viburnum in the meadow”, which became a symbol of resistance in Ukraine after the invasion of Russia. .
“It is suffering and despair. There is no forgiveness for them,” said Ilona, another family friend.
A 7-year-old boy killed in the same Russian airstrike was also buried on Sunday with his mother in a village near Vinnytsia. They were in a medical center when the missiles hit the building. Another young boy killed in the same airstrike is to be buried in Vinnytsia on Monday.
Follow AP coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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Post expires at 5:48pm on Friday July 22nd, 2022