In this article, you will get all the information regarding Love, Pain And Loss at Ukraine’s Lychakiv Cemetery
At a historic military cemetery in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, Valery Pushko lights two cigarettes. One for himself, the other for his son whose picture is attached to a cross planted in the ground.
“I smoke with my son,” said the gray-haired man.
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“We used to take cigarette breaks together. It’s a bad habit but it makes things easier. I talk to him, think about him and it makes me feel better.”
Pushko said that many others come here to smoke with their fallen husbands or sons.
In southeastern Lviv, the Lychakiv Cemetery is one of the oldest in Europe and is often compared to the historic Père Lachaise in Paris, where dozens of celebrities are buried.
It is the resting place of prominent figures including poet Ivan Franko and thousands of soldiers killed in World War I and World War II.
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Since Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago, rows of new graves have appeared. The blue and yellow Ukrainian flag and the red and black nationalist banner mark them.
Some mourners leave stuffed animals, cigarettes, and cups of coffee at the graves of their loved ones.
More unusual symbols of love and sorrow included pictures of children, vinyl records, a golf ball, and a bottle of beer.
a funeral almost every day
Shortly after the Russian invasion in February 2022, the authorities began burying soldiers killed in the fighting at the Lychakiv cemetery.
But the area initially designated for military burials quickly filled up, said city official Oleg Pidpisetsky.
The authorities then began laying Ukrainian soldiers to rest at a new site bordering Lichkiv.
Cremations are held almost every day in the new cemetery. Called the Field of Mars, it now contains about 350 tombs.
“Nobody knew how serious the situation was,” Pidpasetsky told AFP.
“Someone thought it would be over in one, two, three, six months. But, unfortunately, the war has only gotten bigger.”
Oleg, one of the mourners who visited a friend’s grave, described the loss as irreparable.
“Of course we will win, but this is the price we pay. And this is not the end,” the 55-year-old said. “These people gave their lives for us.”
Oleg mourns the passing of his 45 year old friend Oleg.
He said that the father of two children expressed his desire to go to the front.
“Unfortunately, nothing can be done now. Thousands of Russians will not replace my Oleg,” he said bitterly.
‘The only connection with your heroes’
Kiev does not disclose the number of its military casualties, but Western officials say more than 100,000 Ukrainians have been killed or wounded.
Olga, who came to visit her brother-in-law’s grave, says that the souvenirs people leave are “that’s all they have left, their only connection with their heroes.”
He said that his sister comes to the cemetery every day.
“It’s his second home now,” said Olga.
Vyacheslav Sabelnikov, who served in the infantry before he was seriously injured, says that many people with whom he fought are now buried in the cemetery.
“I came to see a friend whose birthday is today,” said Sabelnikov, placing a candle in front of his portrait.
Sabelnikov said he lit candles to remember his friends, adding that it was important to honor their memory.
Anna Mikheyeva, a 44-year-old social worker, came to visit the grave of her son Mykhailo. He served in the 80th Parachute Brigade and was killed last year at the age of 25.
Mikheyeva said she often brings her son favorite items, including Coca-Cola, sweets and cigarettes.
“If I come in the morning, I’ll buy a coffee for myself and him too,” added the dark-haired woman.
She said that she feels calmer in the field of Mars.
“There are only young people here. They are like sons and brothers to me,” she said. “I always say ‘hi guys’ when I come over. And I always thank them.”
Love, Pain And Loss at Ukraine’s Lychakiv Cemetery
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