Conflicts & War

Ukraine mourns fallen on All Saints Day

By Lourdes Velasco

Horodyshche, Ukraine, May 1 (EFE).- Ukrainians marked All Saints Day Sunday by filling cemeteries and graves with flowers and sweets as the nation this year mourns its fallen in the ongoing war against Russia.

In the Christian Orthodox tradition, All Saints is celebrated on the second Sunday after Pentecost.

In the cemetery of Horodyshche, a small municipality some 160 kilometers from Kyiv, families carried baskets with sweets to the graves of their loved ones and shared the treats with visitors to the graves, as is tradition.

The cemetery is awash with Ukrainian flags, yellow and blue flowers and enormous wreaths.

Tarash was 43 years old and a colonel in the Ukrainian Armed Forces. His 71-year-old father, who only gives Efe his first name, Valeri, weeps at his grave, saying only his own death can possibly ease the pain.

Ever since the war started, Valeri lived in fear his son would die.

The mourning father got the dreaded phone call on March 3.

His son had fallen in a shelling on military headquarters in Kharkiv, where he worked as a radio communications officer.

Valeri had spoken to Tarash just 30 minutes before he was killed.

“He had received the award for courage from Zelenskyy,” says Valeri, with teary blue eyes.

His wife remains by his side, dressed in black, and in silence.

Taresh’s parents brought him back to Horodyshche to bury him where he was born.

“I only have hate for the Russians inside,” Valeri tells Efe.

Behind Tarash’s grave lie the remains of another deceased soldier, Sergei.

His 30-year-old widow has a two-year-old boy.

“I am alive for him. He is the engine that guides my life, we have to continue,” Olha, who gives Efe only her first name, says.

Sergei’s two daughters, from a previous marriage, cry inconsolably by their father’s grave.

The family was told Sergei died in a battle with the Russian Army near Kyiv. His battalion of 12 soldiers all died in the clash.

Sergie and Olha lived in Bucha, the suburban town which has become a symbol of the horrors of war. EFE

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