Bezliudivka, Ukraine – A sea of Ukrainian flags commemorates the graves of the victims in Kharkov N18 Cemetery.
The cemetery in Bezlyudivka, on the outskirts of Ukraine’s second largest city, has had a military unit for several years.
It buries Ukrainian soldiers three months after the Russian invasion. And on Saturday more soldiers were buried next to their friends.
Sergei Profotilov, born in 1976 Ի Igor Malenkov, born in 1985, owned two coffins placed on sticks. Both were killed in Vilkhivka, east of Kharkov.
The official date of their deaths on their graves was May 11. But it was probably then that their bodies were taken out of the village, which had been the scene of fierce fighting until the village was liberated more than a month ago.
“They were found with five other bodies, which we could not identify,” said one of the soldiers, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“We suspect they were executed,” he added. “They were killed by bullets in the head.”
Only half a dozen soldiers, the brother of one of the dead, were present at the ceremony, which lasted about an hour.
The military chaplain recited the prayers, incense incense on the coffins under the gray sky, just a few kilometers away, against the background of Russian-Ukrainian artillery fire.
People attend the funeral of 47-year-old Alexander Haponch, a Ukrainian soldier killed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in the military section of Kharkov Cemetery No. 18, Archelian Ukraine, Bezliudivka, May 21, 2022.
The mourners laid red carnations on the graves. Then, after a brief exchange of greetings and hugs, they went on their way.
The brother walked alone through dozens of graves, holding a death certificate.
Two pickup trucks carrying soldiers of the Ukrainian Foreign Legion arrived. About a dozen of them came to pay their last respects to one of their friends, a Dutch soldier killed by artillery fire.
It was forbidden to film the ceremony or to reveal the dead fighter.
There was no religious ceremony here, only a brief speech in English by an officer. One of the soldiers, the British flag on his waistcoat, gave a military salute. Another touched the cross before leaving.
During the fifth ceremony, the family of 47-year-old Alexander Gaponch mourned his death in the town of Tsirkuni, north of Kharkov. Many of those present with tears.
And a few minutes later the fifth funeral of the day began.
The mother of the dead soldier was weeping inconsolably over her son’s coffin, which was held by his family members when it started to rain.
Then, when the coffin was lowered to the ground, each mourner threw a fist of dirt into the grave, before the cemetery staff filled it and planted a wooden cross in the name of the dead soldiers.
Behind that grave, a row of Ukrainian flags fluttered in the wind, one for each grave.
Ukraine is burying its dead soldiers
SourceUkraine is burying its dead soldiers