Sunday, June 11, 2023

18-year-old musician and cat lover killed on the frontline in Ukraine's war

NEWS AND SOME OPINION: This is a snapshot - a vignette - of the Ukrainian war started illegally by Putin and prosecuted by him with incredible cruelty to the point where in the eyes of 95% of the world's population many war crimes have been committed. 

I want to retell the story as told by Christina Lamb in The Sunday Times today. It is very sad. And so unnecessary. So wasteful of a good life with potential for so much more.

Iryna Krasnokutska and her son
Iryna Krasnokutska and her son. Image: The Sunday Times.

Christina Lamb interviewed Iryna Krasnokutska about the death of her son. She is on tranquillisers and is receiving counselling as a way to cope. She is in despair because her son Maksym was a good man. He had talent and a good future ahead of him.

Iryna makes uniforms for Ukrainian soldiers. She is busy. On her phone is a photo of a handsome young son holding a tabby cat. It was his 18th birthday. Within six months of that photo being taken he was dead. At the time of his death, he was the youngest soldier to die on the front lines in the Ukraine war.

She said:

"These are our young generation we need for the future. My son had his whole life ahead of him. How can we be sending 18-year-old to the front lines?"

Iryna was immaculately dressed and made up nicely when she spoke to Christina Lamb. her son was known as Max. He loved jazz and cats. He also loved Formula One and called his cat Kimi after the Finish racing driver Kimi Raikkonen.

He wrote his own compositions and played the alto saxophone in the Poltava Orchestra. He signed up to fight soon after the invasion started. He told his mother that he had to do it to protect her.

"Mum if I don't protect you and Poltava, who will?"

He had never held a gun before but was well trained a long way from the frontline in western Ukraine but as it happens, the Russians sent cruise missiles to his training camp which killed dozens of soldiers. Fortunately, he survived. He felt that he was the lucky one.

After two months of training Max was transferred to another camp in the north-east of Ukraine. This was nearer the fighting. This camp was also struck by a Russian missile. He survived again.

He was then sent to the frontline in the Donetsk region in the east. He was stationed 500 m from the Russians. In late July he phoned his grandmother and told her that he had just come back from a mission during which all his fellow soldiers had been wounded or killed. He survived again and told her that he was the lucky one.

Sadly, two days later news came out of the area where he was fighting that someone had been killed. Instinctively Iryna knew that it was him. It was two more days before her instincts were confirmed. On August 5 he was buried in the newly created Alley of Heroes, a part of a cemetery in Poltava Zaturyne reserved for military deaths.

Since then, Iryna's younger son has been taken to hospital where he remained for 45 days. Then her husband, a driver had a heart attack and had to go into hospital as well.

She couldn't grieve properly. She became angry. On her phone she keeps the photo of her smiling son playing his saxophone. She wants to remember him like that. And she doesn't want any more of Ukraine's youngest and best to be killed in battle.

Max had a tabby cat. No doubt he loved his cat. The cat now does not have Max as a human companion. Let's think of the cat as well who might be grieving as Max's mother is.

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