The mother and grandmother of a 15-year-old boy cried over the teenager’s body in the partially-blocked Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, where Russian shelling has increased in recent days
KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — The mother and grandmother of a 15-year-old Ukrainian boy couldn’t hold back their tears. Their anguish filled the cramped hallway as they knelt over the teen’s body.
Artem Shevchenko was killed by shelling in Kharkiv, a partially blockaded city in the northeast where Russian shelling has increased in recent days. Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, is only 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Russian border.
Nine civilians died and more than 50 people were injured in the attack on one of Kharkiv’s residential areas on Friday, the Ukrainian president’s office reported.
“Please open your eyes, my bunny. Please,” Nina Shevchenko pleaded, captured in a moving Associated Press video in which she mourns her son.
The boy’s grandmother arrived as people came to collect his body.
“Let me see it! My baby. My golden sun! cried the grandmother. My dear sun. We just talked today. My dear, why should I live, if you are gone “I lived for you. My sunshine. Curse them all! They should find no place, neither on earth nor in heaven.”
“I lived for you,” Nina Shevchenko told her son.
“Please open your eyes,” she said, touching her face before paramedics and neighbors took the boy away in a body bag. A seven-month-old baby was also killed in the bombardment.
In the hallway of another building, a young girl broke down in tears as she recounted the horror of the attack and how she was only saved when “a woman, God bless her, covered me with her body”.
Outside, bloodied people lay in pain on the streets, where ambulances arrived to treat them.
Amid burnt-out cars and debris, a man who had helped his friend into an ambulance spoke out against Russian forces, whose invasion sparked a war in his country.
“What did this guy do to them (the Russians)?” Asked Sergey Kirichenko, a friend of the injured.
“Who should we make peace with?” Kirichenko asked. “With those monsters?”
The Russian Defense Ministry said Russian military strikes in the Kharkiv region “liquidated a mercenary squad of a Polish private military company” numbering up to 30 people and “liberated” a steel plant in the port of Mariupol, in southern Ukraine.
The claims could not be independently verified.
Follow all AP stories about Russia’s war on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.