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Ukrainian brothers in arms buried within days

Memorial and funeral service for fallen soldiers after the ongoing Russian invasion of Lviv
Relatives and friends mourn the four fallen Ukrainian soldiers Oleg Vashchyshyn, Kyrylo Vyshyvanyi, Rostyslav Romanchuk and Serhiy Melnyk, who were killed in a missile attack on a military base in Yavoriv during the ongoing Russian invasion, during a commemoration and funeral ceremony in Lviv, Ukraine, May 15, 2017. March 2022. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

March 15, 2022

LVIV, Ukraine (Reuters) – When the air raid siren went off in the middle of the funeral on Tuesday, there was no pause from the priest and hardly a blink from the mourners, who ignored the threat of Russian missiles to bury loved ones they killed two days before.

At the baroque St. Peter and Paul Garrison Church in Lviv, hundreds gathered to pay their respects to four soldiers, including one who had buried his brother just days earlier.

All were among 35 killed in a Russian airstrike on the Yavoriv military base on Sunday, which saw rockets penetrating further into Ukraine than at any time during the three-week conflict and landing just 20km from the border with Poland.

Mothers hugged the coffins while weeping family members laid flowers – some blue and yellow after the Ukrainian flag – on the polished wood.

Pallbearers carried away the bodies of Oleh Yashchyshyn, Kyrylo Vyshyvanyi, Rostyslav Romanchuk and Serhiy Melnyk.

Three were buried at the military memorial of the city’s historic Lychakiv Cemetery, Ukraine’s most famous cemetery, while a fourth was buried at his family’s property in a small village near Lviv.

It was the second blow in two weeks for Vyshyvanyi’s family, who buried his younger brother Vasyl on March 4th. He, also a soldier, was killed near the southern city of Mykolayiv, hundreds of kilometers away.

The eldest of those killed was Oleh Yashchyshyn, whose daughter was also in Yavoriv but was not seriously wounded.

One child carried a teddy bear with the words “Love, Love, Love” printed on the shoulder strap.

As the priest assured their families that the loss of the quartet was not in vain, the choir sang the eulogy “Memory Eternal” in Ukrainian.

(Reporting by Kai Pfaffenbach, Andriy Perun, Oleksandr Kozhukhar, Margaryta Chornokondratenko and Stephen Farrell in Lviv; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

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Bobby Allyn

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