VINNYTSIA, Ukraine –
Beautiful and elegant in a crown of white flowers, 4-year-old Liza, who was killed in a Russian missile attack, was buried on Sunday in central Ukraine when an Orthodox priest turned her head. crying and telling loved ones 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 city of Vinnytsia on Thursday, far from the front lines. At least 24 people were killed, including Liza and two boys aged 7 and 8, and more than 200 people were injured, including Liza’s mother.
“Look, my flower! Look how many people come to you,” said Liza’s grandmother, Larysa Dmytryshyna, stroking Liza as she lay in an open coffin with flowers and teddy bears in the Church of Transfiguration. 18th century figure of Vinnytsia.
Liza’s father, Artem Dmytriev, stood motionless, tears streaming down his face.
Liza’s mother, Iryna Dmytrieva, 33, remains in the intensive care unit in serious condition. The family did not tell her that Liza would be buried on Sunday, fearing it could affect her condition.
“Your mother doesn’t even see how beautiful you are today,” said Dmytryshyna, crying.
Helena Sydorenko, a longtime family friend, said Liza’s mother “invested a lot of work in socializing Liza.”
“She wants her child to have a full life,” Sydorenko added.
When the war began, Dmytrieva and her family left the capital Kyiv for Vinnytsia, a city 270 kilometers southwest that was considered relatively safe until Thursday.
Shortly before the explosion, Dmytrieva posted a video on social media showing her daughter reaching for the handlebars to push her own stroller, happily walking through Vinnytsia, wearing a denim jacket and pants white, hair decorated with a barrette.
After the Russian missile attack, Ukraine’s emergency services shared photos showing her lifeless body on the ground next to her bloodied cart. The first lady of Ukraine remembers how cheerful and happy the little girl was when she met her. The videos and photos went viral, the latest from the brutal war in Ukraine that terrorized the world.
Liza’s closest relatives sat on either side of the coffin, and many went to the Vinnytsia Orthodox church to pay their last respects to the girl.
“I don’t know Liza, but no one can go through this calmly,” said Orthodox priest Vitalii Holoskevych, crying. “ Because every burial is a pain for each of us. We are losing our brothers and sisters.”
He paused and continued in a trembling voice: ‘We know that evil cannot win.’
Later in a windy cemetery, relatives and friends bid farewell to Liza under the gray sky.
“You loved this song so much, you danced every day. This song suits you now,” said Dmytrusyna, Liza’s grandmother.
The song is “Oh, Red Viburnum in the Meadow”, which became a symbol of the resistance in Ukraine after the Russian invasion.
“It was heartbreaking and desperate. There was no forgiveness for them,” said Ilona, another family friend.
A 7-year-old boy killed in a similar Russian air strike was also buried with his mother on Sunday in a village near Vinnytsia. They were at a medical center when the missile hit the building. Another boy killed in the same airstrike will be buried in Vinnytsia on Monday.