Residents of Kiev reflect on the anniversary of the war in Ukraine

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The manicure that became a symbol of the war in Ukraine

STORY: Her bright red painted nails revealed her identity. Iryna Filkina was 52 years old when she was killed in Bucha at the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But it wasn’t until weeks later, when pictures of her lifeless hand began circulating online, that those who knew her could be sure she’d died. “It was a normal evening. My family and I had just finished dinner and were about to go to bed. But then, as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, I saw a post with pictures of Iryna and the picture of the hand, “I stopped breathing. That’s what I felt. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t move.” A year after the war began, the shocking photo remains a powerful symbol of the horrors of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On February 24, 2022, Russia launched a so-called “military special operation” for the first time. The suburb of Bucha was on the Russians’ route to the prize-winning capital of Kiev. They were eventually pushed back, but Russian troops left reminders of their deadly occupation for the whole world to see. Videos and photos surfaced in April showing the bodies of dozens of civilians scattered along Yablunska Street. Bucha’s mayor says more than 400 civilians were killed there by Russian forces, some gunned down with their hands tied behind their backs. Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of war crimes in Bucha, a claim the Kremlin denies. It has been claimed that pictures of corpses on Bucha’s streets are fake. Filkina’s family says she was shot dead on March 5 as she rode her bike across town to get home. Reuters could not independently verify this report. “For me, the world ended on March 5.” Filkina’s older sister Svitlana Safonova regularly visits her resting place. “During the day when you’re working, doing something, taking care of kids and grandkids, it gets a little bit easier. But with the night comes the fear. At night I keep thinking about her, about what we could have done, how we could have done Filkina was working as a heating operator at a popular Kiev shopping center at the time of her death, her beautician Subacheva says , she trained as a makeup artist.” Iryna was a great person, a lovely person. When I think of her, I want to smile. She inspired me to live my life to the fullest. Because she was so full of life, She beamed, “A year after the full-scale invasion, Filkina’s family and friends have parted ways, their lives turned upside down by the conflict it seems so meaningless to them.” just tell her that i love her very much. And that I’m so sorry. I torture myself for not being able to save her, to protect her. That’s the worst.”


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