Volyn buried 10 soldiers who were the first to be mobilized by the Armed Forces of Ukraine to defend Ukraine’s sovereignty in its eastern regions, and were shot dead by terrorists in a treacherous dawn attack on May 22. Soldier Mykola Bondaruk’s burial service was held in the millennium-old Assumption Cathedral of Volodymyr-Volynsky, as he hailed from the village of Zarichia close to the raion center. His relatives raised the money for a body armor vest, brought it to civic activists who have been helping the 51st Brigade with logistics for months, and had to take the money back in the evening of the same day to cover costs of his burial… The village of Zoria, Volodymyr-Volynsky raion, buried soldier Vitalii Mishchuk, while Myliatyn of Ivanychi raion has become the burial place of Mykhailo Hrytsiuk, father of three, with his youngest being only two months old... Novovolynsk bid farewell to 23-year-old Pavlo Popov, and Kovel to father of three, Sergeant Oleksandr Artemuk. The oblast capital of Lutsk has laid to rest two 23-year-olds Volodymyr Prokopchuk and Volodymyr Zaradiuk (the latter the only child of his parents), as well as Vitalii Makhnovets and Dmytro Yovzyk.
Unfortunately, Lutsk has lately seen such thousands-strong processions only at funerals. A few months ago, the whole city bid farewell to the heroes of the Heavenly Sotnia. It seemed that all of Lutsk was in mourning on May 27… Grief of the bereaved families is immeasurable because their children died in what looked like peacetime. Some people in the crowd were especially anxious. They were relatives of the 51st Brigade’s soldiers who survived that terrible battle. Olha Shafraniuk’s eyes were overflowing with tears. Her son Alexander is now at a Kharkiv hospital with a serious injury to his leg. His father died when the boy was three and a half years old, he is the youngest in the family, and the mother told us how difficult it had been for her to raise the children on her own, and now she has to worry for her flesh and blood... The man standing next to her had his hands shaking and unmanly tears flowing from his eyes. He was the happy dad of a soldier who had survived the massacre, but was still serving out east.
Among the funeral wreaths, one caught the eye, as it was inscribed “From the residents of the town of Volnovakha.” It came from the Donbas with the bodies of dead Volynians. My friend who had been Makhnovets’s mother co-worker said it had been a local resident who brought our wounded boy to the hospital, and it was not an isolated fact. It is pleasing and bringing hope, and God knows, we do need some hope now…
“No one but us needs a strong Ukrainian state. No one but us will build it for us. These boys were the first to rise to the state’s defense, and they have fulfilled every word of their oaths,” head of the Volyn Oblast State Administration Hryhorii Pustovit said in his funeral oration. “They would have never given way to the enemy, nor surrendered, and the enemy knew it, and so mounted that treacherous attack... Volyn will not forget its soldiers. We will take revenge for their deaths. The attacked battalion has been moved to a calmer place and will be reorganized. A few dozen of its soldiers have already said that they will not go home but will stay with the brigade. There will be 300 of them tomorrow, and then 3,000... Woe and misfortune unite people, although we had to pay such a tragic and irreparable price for it. They did not die in vain! And victory will be ours, because these boys stood for Ukraine, while their enemies stood for false ideas, money for mercenaries and deceit.”
P.S. Also on May 27, Rivne buried 34-year-old medical driver Andrii Nechyporuk and two recon soldiers – 22-year-old Vitalii Marynych and 23-year-old Leonid Ozeranchuk. Lviv region bid farewell to 24-year-old soldier Liubomyr Kuzmin from the village of Slavske, Skole raion.
May their memory live forever.