Distraught mother buries her son, 6, who was one of three people killed in a Russian artillery attack in eastern Ukraine
- Oleg Kornievski, 6, was killed in a Russian artillery attack outside his house
- He was mortally wounded by shrapnel and was buried by his mother Ekaterina
- The child was one of three killed when Russians shelled Lysychansk in the east
- The United Nations believes almost 300 children have been killed during the war
It should have been a precious family snap – six-year-old Oleg Kornievski posing for his mother with a bouquet of freshly picked flowers.
But the picture serves as a tragic prelude to yet another heartbreaking story from the war in Ukraine.
For just hours later Oleg was killed in a Russian artillery attack. He was mortally wounded by shrapnel in front of his house and his mother Ekaterina buried him the next day. The distraught mother was seen tending to the earth on his grave, and sobbing as she knelt on the ground to pray.
Little Oleg was one of three people killed when Russian forces shelled Lysychansk, a city in the east of Ukraine – just across the river from the battleground of Severodonetsk. At least one other person was wounded. Serhiy Haidai, the head of Luhansk region, said the attacks on the area this week had also caused a shopping centre to burn down.
Oleg Kornievski, pictured, was killed by Russian artillery just hours after this photograph was taken by his mother Ekaterina in his home town of Lysychansk, eastern Ukraine
Ekaterina, pictured tending to her son’s grave, buried her son the following day. The attack killed two other people
Four houses and buildings of a local mine were also damaged, while in the suburb of Vrubivka 11 houses were destroyed, and in Hirske a nursery school was struck.
Some 277 children have been killed and 456 injured over the course of the war, according to UN figures, though Ukraine puts the death toll at 313.
Lysychansk has been under sustained shelling in recent weeks, while its twin city of Severodonetsk – on the other side of the Siverskyi Donets river – has seen some of the most brutal street fighting since Russia launched its bloody invasion of Ukraine.
On Thursday, an air strike hit a building sheltering civilians in Lysychansk, killing at least four and wounding seven, Mr Haidai said.
And he said a separate air strike had hit a sanatorium building in the city – causing it to collapse and possibly leading to further casualties.
‘It is likely that there are people trapped under the rubble,’ he said of the second strike, with a rescue team under way.