At the cemetery on the outskirts of Dnipro, six rows of 23 graves have been pre-dug and await the soldiers killed in the Russian invasion. Another seven rows are already filled.
After Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, gravediggers created a new military detachment, using an excavator to prepare nearly 300 new graves in anticipation of victims who would soon pour in from the front lines.
That more than half of these graves are already full after only seven weeks of war is a vivid illustration of the increasing costs of resisting Russian aggression.
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, around 2,500 to 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed so far.
Russia claims more than 23,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed.
While the true number is likely somewhere in between, it represents a much faster death toll than Ukraine’s war with Russian-backed separatists in Donbass, which killed an estimated 14,000 soldiers and civilians on both sides between 2014 and 2021.
Under a leaden sky, Khomenko Dmytro was buried here yesterday as the last victim of the war with full military honours.
Mr. Dmytro, 43, joined the Ukrainian military in March and served as a radio communications specialist in a logistics unit.
Barely a month later, Mr Dmytro was killed in night fighting near Rubishne on the front line with the breakaway Luhansk Oblast, a soldier attending the funeral said.
“In the past few weeks, since Russia turned its attention to the East, we have received many more fallen soldiers at the cemetery,” the soldier said.
Mr. Dmytro’s death is just a sign of intensifying fighting in the eastern Donbass region.
A brass band played as his open coffin was carried to the grave Plyve Kachaa song by Ukrainian band Pikkardiyska Tertsiya that has become an unofficial anthem for fallen soldiers since 2014.
“God honors the sacrifice your son made for Ukraine,” he said to the five relatives in attendance, before an honor guard fired a three-volley salute from their Kalashnikovs.
Nearby, Valeri Vasilevski followed Ukrainian tradition by tending his brother Yevgenii’s grave 40 days after his funeral.
Yevgenii, the first soldier buried here in the new section after the invasion, had served as a senior sergeant with the 72nd Mechanized Brigade of Ukraine, known as the Black Zaporozhian Cossacks.
Mr. Vasilevski (39) spoke proudly of his older brother, who was posthumously awarded the Order of Bravery after being killed defending Kharkiv.
As Mr Vasilevski was working on his brother’s grave, three young friends came to pay their respects to their former schoolmate Bohdan Karimov, who was 21 when he was killed.
Cyril, Stanislav and Tanya grew up in the same neighborhood as Karimov, in Lysychansk.
The three friends remembered Bohdan as a handsome ladies’ man who loved junk food.
On Karimov’s grave, Kyrill left two oversized Snickers bars and a Hell Energy drink.
“When you lose someone close to you, you feel like you want to lie next to them in a grave for what happened to all of Ukraine,” said Kyrill (20), wiping away tears.
“I wanted to enroll after Bohdan’s death, but I know it’s not worth the cost. His body was shredded.” (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd. 2022)
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/row-after-row-of-plots-pre-dug-as-graves-at-military-cemetery-filling-up-at-an-unrelenting-rate-41562671.html Row after row of plots dug out for graves in the military cemetery filled up with relentless speed