Teenager killed in shelling, deeply mourned

KHARKIV – The mother and grandmother of a 15-year-old Ukrainian boy could not hold back her tears. Their agony filled the narrow 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, the second largest city in Ukraine, is only 40 kilometers 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 rabbit. Please,” pleaded Nina Shevchenko, captured in moving Associated Press video mourning the loss of her son.

The boy’s grandmother came when people came to take his body away.

“Let me see him! My baby. My golden sunshine!” exclaimed the grandmother. “My dear sunshine. We were just talking today. My love, why should I live when you’re gone? I lived for you. My Sunshine. Curse them all! They should have no place, either on earth or in heaven.”


“I lived for you,” Nina Shevchenko said to her son.

“Please open your eyes,” she said, touching his face before paramedics and neighbors carried the boy away in a body bag. A seven-month-old baby was also killed in the shelling.

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, bless her, covered me with her body.”

Outside, bloodied people lay in pain in the streets where ambulances arrived to treat them.

Amid burnt-out cars and rubble, 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 wounded man.

“With whom should we make peace?” asked Kirichenko. “With those monsters?”

The Russian Defense Ministry said Russian military strikes in the Kharkiv region had “liquidated a group of mercenaries from a Polish private military company” of up to 30 people and “liberated” an iron and steel factory in southern Ukraine’s port of Mariupol.


The claims could not be independently verified.


Follow all AP reports on Russia’s war against Ukraine at

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Jaclyn Diaz

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