Ukrainian man whose wife, children were killed by Russian fire said he found out on Twitter

Business Insider US
Dead bodies lie in the street next to a suitcase in Irpin, Ukraine, on March 6, 2022.
  • A Ukrainian man said he learned of his family's death from photos on Twitter.
  • Serhiy Perebyinis toldThe New York Times that his family was killed while trying to flee Kyiv.
  • "The whole world should know what is happening here," he said. 
  • For more stories visit Business Insider.

A Ukrainian mother and her two children, along with a church volunteer who was helping them escape Kyiv amid Russia's ongoing invasion were killed by mortar fire on Sunday as they attempted to flee via a damaged bridge in the town of Irpin.

Hours later, Serhiy Perebyinis discovered the deaths of his wife and children via graphic photos of their dead bodies on Twitter, the father told The New York Times.

A photograph of the family and volunteer covered in blood and lying lifeless in the street taken by New York Times photographer, Lynsey Addario, spread quickly over the weekend, capturing the heartbreaking human toll of Russia's war, which has included ramped up attacks against populous civilian areas in recent days.

In an interview with the newspaper, Perebyinis confirmed that his wife, Tetiana Perebyinis, 43, and their two children, Mykyta, 18, and Alisa, 9, as well as Anatoly Berezhnyi, 26, were the victims in the photograph.

Serhiy Perebyinis said he was away in eastern Ukraine helping his sick mother when his wife decided it was time to take her children and escape the city after a shell hit their apartment building one night last week.

But the family never made it out. 

In order to escape the city, the travellers had to cross a hundred yards of exposed street on the side of a ruined concrete bridge with no cover, according to The Times. 

Berezhnyi, a church volunteer who had already evacuated his own family but returned to Kyiv to assist others, was with Tetiana Perebyinis and her children when they made their run to safety, the outlet reported. But the group was a mere 12 yards away from where a Russian mortar shell hit and the explosion of shrapnel shards killed them all. 

The Times' photograph showed Ukrainian soldiers standing over the bodies with the family's luggage strewn about the street. 

It was their luggage — some suitcases and backpacks — that ultimately led to their identification.

"I recognized the luggage and that is how I knew," Serhiy Perebyinis told The Times. 

He said he began seeing posts on Twitter reporting that a family had been killed in a mortar strike while trying to escape out of Irpin. Finally, a post with a photograph came across his feed and he knew. 

Serhiy Perebyinis told The Times that it was important that his family's deaths were recorded in photographs.

"The whole world should know what is happening here," he said. 

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