Stories of Injustice Day 2023

This year on the Stories of Injustice Day together with Czech and Ukrainian students we honored the memory of our peers, young people aged 14-21 who died as a result  of Russian aggression in Ukraine. Explore stories of the actual students who were killed.

Watch the video of a memorial event, by which we also want to draw attention to the support that Ukraine needs and, in connection with the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Communist Regime, honor all the victims of Russian imperial policy.

View the photo gallery and the video from the memorial event on our social networks.

   

You can turn on English subtitles directly in the video.

"Today's Russia pursues its imperial interests aggressively and with military force, just as the Soviet Union did in the past. It does not respect international law, the sovereignty of states or basic human rights, and commits terrible crimes. During several previous editions of The Stories of Injustice Day, we pointed out the parallels between the Russian invasion of our territory in 1968 and the subsequent occupation of Czechoslovakia with the situation in part of the territory of Ukraine after the occupation of Crimea. Both the global and Czech influential politicians have for a long time relativized and downplayed the threat represented by Russia. Economic interests were prioritized over principled positions, the comfortable illusion that Russia would not cross certain borders prevailed - all of this contributed to the next military attack on Ukraine," says Karel Strachota, director of the One World in Schools educational program of the People in Need organization.

He adds, "We have long-term focused our educational activities on schools throughout the country, Czech students regularly participate in our events. We decided to dedicate this year's memorial event to the Ukrainian peers, we want to bring to light the tragic fates of many of them. Students of both nationalities will thus together honor the memory of young people killed during Russian military operations. Civilians are still dying not far from us. Every day there are reports of the suffering of Ukrainian men and women. The war has been going on for a long time. Despite this, or rather precisely because of this, we must not simply accept that it happens, we must not get used to it. Ukraine still needs support and help. It is also a matter of our safe future and freedom.”

Explore stories of the actual students who were killed beacuse of war in Ukraine. 

Yevhenia Babakova, 20 years old, Mariupol

Twenty-year-old Yevhenia Babakova lived in Mariupol. On...
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Yevhenia Babakova, 20 years old, Mariupol

Twenty-year-old Yevhenia Babakova lived in Mariupol. On March 9 2022, she and her mother went shopping to the Central Market. But they didn't get there. The city was hit by a Russian air raid, Yevhenia suffered numerous shrapnel wounds and died.

Yevhenia worked as a pharmacist in Mariupol, studied remotely at Kherson State University. She was a graduate of the Beryslav Medical College. She wanted to open her own pharmacy and massage parlor. She followed trends on TikTok and also made her own videos. She enjoyed bead embroidery, working with paper and creating with plasticine.

“Yevhenia was the only one in our family who categorically refused the widespread home self-treatment and relied on the experience of doctors. She knew very well what a neglected disease can cause. At the first sign of difficulties, she always rushed us to the doctor's. She was quiet, calm, a little introverted, but always willing to help. She wasn't afraid to speak her mind. She had beautiful brown eyes and a charming look, she danced beautifully," describes her sister Julia.

Above all, Yevhenia loved her family and most of all her little nephew. "She was supposed to become his godmother, instead she became our angel and protector," said sister Julia. Julia learned about the shelling of the city on March 9, 2022 via Telegram network. There she also saw her sister in one of the photographs. She believed she was alive. "Then I saw Yevhenia again in one of the videos. She was lying on the ground, the pressure wave threw her body near the epicenter of the explosion. She had fragments of a grenade stuck in her back, head and leg. Mom was nowhere to be found," she described.

Her father, younger brother, older sister, nephew and boyfriend, to whom she was planning to get married - all of them have now been remembering Yevhenia for more than a year...

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Oleksandra Borivska, 18 years old, Vinnytsia

On July 14, 2022, Oleksandra Borivska became one of the...
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Oleksandra Borivska, 18 years old, Vinnytsia

On July 14, 2022, Oleksandra Borivska became one of the victims of the Russian rocket attack on the city of Vinnytsia. She died on the street near the House of Officers on her way to the driving school. Oleksandra was eighteen years old and was in the second year of the Vasyl' Stus Donetsk National University, which, due to the war conflict in the east of the country, moved to Vinnytsia in the west-central Ukraine. Oleksandra is remembered in her alma mater: "She was optimistic, smiling and proactive."

Her mother, Alla Chernakhivska, says that her daughter was extremely active and purposeful. The year before last, she helped with the preparation of the graduation evening, which she eventually moderated. Her hobby was photography, her photos were admired on social networks. She also liked to travel," says Oleksandra's mother.

Oleksandra planned a career in diplomacy, so she learned foreign languages. She dreamed of getting married on a sea or ocean shore. She wanted to travel a lot and see the Grand Canyon in the United States at least once. She loved animals, always carrying treats for stray dogs and cats in her pockets. "She was our only child," describes the mother of the victim of Russia's war against Ukraine.

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Iryna Dashko, 20 years old, Piskivka, Kyiv Oblast

Twenty-year-old Iryna Dashko died on March 8, 2022 during...
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Iryna Dashko, 20 years old, Piskivka, Kyiv Oblast

Twenty-year-old Iryna Dashko died on March 8, 2022 during the Russian bombing of the town of Piskivka in the Kyiv Oblast. She was born and raised in the town of Bila Krynytsia in the Zhytomyr Oblast. She studied agronomy at the local branch of the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine in the town of Nemishaieve near Kyiv. Everyne who knew her says she was friendly and cheerful. She dreamed of having a family, she planned to get married right after graduation. She was an avid fisherman and a great cook. "Iryna was a sensitive and a very kind girl, always willing to offer a helping hand," her mother, Natalia Kulak, remembers her daughter. The mother and Iryna's two sisters now mourn Iryna.

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Lidia Duminika, 17 years old, village of Yavkyne, Mykolaiv Oblast

Seventeen-year-old Lidia Duminika lost her life on March...
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Lidia Duminika, 17 years old, village of Yavkyne, Mykolaiv Oblast

Seventeen-year-old Lidia Duminika lost her life on March 24, 2022 in the village of Yavkyne in the Mykolaiv Oblast. On that day, together with her boyfriend Vyacheslav, she found herself under fire from Russian Smerch missiles. Shrapnels caused her fatal injuries. Two other people were killed, ten were injured.

Lidia Duminika came from the village of Chervona Dolyna in the Mykolaiv Oblast, where she also attended the local elementary school. In Mykolaiv, she specialized in processing procedures at the vocational school of economics and food technology. Her boyfriend Vyacheslav says that Lidia was constantly improving her culinary skills: she cooked a variety of dishes, inventing new recipes. “She dreamed of opening her own business where people would line up for her goodies. And it wasn't just a dream, we already planned and well thought everything together," Vyacheslav recounts.

He can't forget his girlfriend. “She was so gentle and empathetic, she was a great listener, I loved her kindness and simplicity... I still live in the village where it all happened. I seem to relive that day over and over again. I wake up in the morning and ask myself, “Why did this happen? Why were we in that place? And why exactly at that fateful second?" says Vyacheslav.

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Hennadiy Havrashenko, 18 years old, Kupiansk, Kharkiv Oblast

Eighteen-year-old Hennadiy Havrashenko tragically died on...
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Hennadiy Havrashenko, 18 years old, Kupiansk, Kharkiv Oblast

Eighteen-year-old Hennadiy Havrashenko tragically died on September 13, 2022 in the city of Kupiansk in the Kharkiv Oblast. On that day, he was driving the car in which he, his mother and a younger brother went to see their grandmother. The car came under Russian fire, Hennadiy died on the spot, the mother and brother ended up in the hospital with injuries.

Hennadiy was born in the village of Vilshana in the Kharkiv Oblast. He attended a local school, where in the ninth grade, under the guidance of his teacher Valentyn Lazorenko, he worked on the project “Conversion of a children's car into an electric car”. With the project, he participated in the all-Ukrainian scientific research competition of students and members of the Minor Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

He followed up with studies at the Secondary School of Automotive Engineering of Kupiansk. In the fateful year of 2022 Hennadiy was already in the fourth year. Cars were his life, he was interested in everything connected to cars and transport. He had big ambitions and bold plans. He dreamed of becoming a truck driver. He loved Ukraine, his family and loved ones.


"I'm proud of my son and I can't make peace with the fact that he's not here anymore. I will never forgive those who killed him. He was everything to us..." said the boy's father, Andriy Havrashenko. Along with him, Hennadiy is mourned by his mother, older sister and two younger brothers.

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Ivan Ivanov, 15 years old, died near the village of Blystavytsia in the Kyiv Oblast

Fifteen-year-old Ivan Ivanov was killed by Russian occupiers on the morning of March 4, 2022, near the village of Blystavytsia in the Kyiv Oblast. The boy's family was trying to escape from the occupied native village and cross to the neighboring village of Myrotske. But the car in which Ivan evacuated came under Russian fire.

Ivanov's neighbor Tamara recalls how she and the boy's mother Iryna tried to pick up Ivan's body: "We came to the car, Iryna fell to her knees and took her son by the hand, but he was dead. She pulled his backpack out from under the wheels of the car, his things were scattered everywhere – 9th grade textbooks, tennis shoes... She started to collect them and put them in the backpack. I ask her: Iryna, why are you doing this? In shock, she shouted at me: These are Ivan's things, I have to collect them..."

Tamara knew Ivan since he was a child. He was kind, and he and his beloved younger sister formed an inseparable duo. He loved to put his hand to work at home.

They took Ivan's body out of the damaged car and took it home in a wheelbarrow, to bury it in the yard. After the liberation of the village and the expulsion of the Russians from the north of the country, Ivan was buried at the cemetery in Bucha.

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Valentyn Jakymchuk, 18 years old, Piskivka, Kyiv Oblast

Eighteen-year-old Valentyn Yakymchuk died on March 14, 2022...
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Valentyn Jakymchuk, 18 years old, Piskivka, Kyiv Oblast

Eighteen-year-old Valentyn Yakymchuk died on March 14, 2022 in the village of Mokhnatyn in the Chernihiv region. Two of his friends, seventeen-year-old twin brothers Yevhen and Bohdan Samodii, also died with him. The trio was returning home from a visit and met a Russian military convoy in Mokhnatyn. The soldiers shot Valentyn's friends with machine guns, and the Russians opened fire on him from a combat vehicle, the cannon which is normally used to attack armored targets. The boy's leg and half of his head were torn off by a bullet...

Valentyn Yakymchuk was a first-year student of the field of tourism at the Chernihiv National Technical University. He loved computer games and football, he liked watching movies.

"My brother was a great guy, he had style and a unique sense of humor. He liked to spend time with his friends, he never hesitated to help me. In the summer, he wanted to start working for the first time, he planned to get a driver's license," wrote Valentyn's sister Alyona Yakymchuk.

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Viacheslav Yalyshev, 14 years old, Odesa

Viacheslav Yalyshev was fourteen years old. He died on May...
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Viacheslav Yalyshev, 14 years old, Odesa

Viacheslav Yalyshev was fourteen years old. He died on May 2, 2022 in Odesa. On the fateful day, the boy wanted to warn his elderly neighbors about the air raid warning. He was hiding with his grandparents in the basement of a hostel near the airport when the sirens went off. Meanwhile, their neighbors left the shelter to cook at home. They are old people and did not register the warning. Viacheslav therefore wanted to tell them about the danger and ran out of the cellar. The Russian army subsequently launched a missile attack on Odesa. One of the rockets hit the dormitory. The neighbors survived, the boy did not.

Fourteen-year-old Viacheslav Yalyshev was a good student, it was a nice and cheerful boy who liked to dance and make videos with his friends. He had acting talent and dreamed of becoming an actor in the future.

“He will forever be our angel and hero. He saved others' lives and died himself," said Viacheslav's mother Olha Yalysheva.

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Tetyana Kotlubey, 20 years old, Mariupol

Twenty-year-old Tetyana Kotlubey died tragically along with...
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Tetyana Kotlubey, 20 years old, Mariupol

Twenty-year-old Tetyana Kotlubey died tragically along with her mother and grandmother on March 11, 2022, when a Russian missile hit their house.

Tetyana was born in Mariupol, studied computer science and foreign languages at the local technical university. She wanted to continue her studies at one of the universities abroad. She liked to travel, she was happily in love. She loved to watch the Eurovision Song Contest.

She was very afraid of war. After the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022, she deleted all her social media profiles and photos. She wanted to escape from the besieged Mariupol. She didn't make it.

“My daughter loved life, enjoyed every second of it. She was terribly afraid of war. As if she suspected something..." father Yevhen Kotlubey admitted.

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Anna Kushnerenko, 17 years old, Chernihiv

Seventeen-year-old Anna Kushnerenko died during the...
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Anna Kushnerenko, 17 years old, Chernihiv

Seventeen-year-old Anna Kushnerenko died during the evacuation

on March 9, 2022 near Chernihiv. Her friend Vitalii Skorobahatko was with her on this fateful day. As he later testified, they crossed the bridge over the river Desna and continued to the village of Anysiv together with about forty other people. Anna was injured during a sudden Russian shelling.

“I was trying to help. First she cried out in pain, then just breathed very heavily. When we moved her to one of the houses she was still alive. The shrapnel hit her in the stomach, the wound was deep, and no one knew what to do with such an extensive injury, so we waited for the ambulance to arrive. A local doctor came in running, then the ambulance arrived as well. All the injured were taken to the hospital, but Anna could no longer be helped, she died,” Vitalii said.

Anna lived in the city of Mena. She studied at the Levko Revutsky Music School in Chernihiv, she played the Ukrainian national instrument bandura. Her mother, Olena Kushnerenko, explained that her daughter dreamed of participating in a music competition and believed in herself a lot. "Since she was little, we talked a lot with her at home. When she had a wish or wanted something, we always discussed it and set priorities. I tried to give her everything, even though we weren't really rich. Sometimes we had to borrow money for something or deny ourselves a lot, but good people came together and we were able to buy her the bandura," described Olena Kushnerenko. Anna was her only daughter.

"After endless days and sleepless nights in inhumane conditions in the besieged and bombed Chernihiv, she tried to return home to her parents... Sweet Anna… Such a talented musician who could make the bandura sound heavenly. And how she sang! She was a source of light and joy." They gave their last goodbye to Anna Kushnerenko at the town hall of her native Mena.

"The world stopped for me... We are just simple people, and Anna was so extraordinary, a special child... Gifted with incredible talent. But God gives, God takes away..." said Anna Kushnerenko's mother.

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Ivanna Obodzinska, 19 years old, Jurivka, village of Yurivka, Zhytomyr Oblast

Nineteen-year-old Ivanna Obodzinska became a tragic victim...
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Ivanna Obodzinska, 19 years old, Jurivka, village of Yurivka, Zhytomyr Oblast

Nineteen-year-old Ivanna Obodzinska became a tragic victim of the war on March 8, 2022, when two Russian air bombs hit her house in the village of Yurivka in the Zhytomyr Oblast. Along with her died her one-year-old twins, her brother Volodymyr and her mother Natalia.

Ivanna graduated from the Malyn Forest Technical College, specializing in ecological constructions. She continued her studies at the Zhytomyr National Agroecological University. She took care of two children – Denys and Nikol. She dreamed of becoming a landscape architect in the field of green construction. As a child she liked to attend art classes, she had an artistic talent.

"We had an unsightly plot in front of the house. Ivanna planted it all with flowers and every spring she carefully dug up everything and planted new plants. They loved to bake with Mom, and my son and I enjoyed it a lot," recalls the girl's father Volodymyr Obodzinsky, who, all at once, lost his wife, children and grandchildren.

On the tragic day he was working in the capital city. He will never forget the last conversation he had with his daughter, she begged him on the phone: "Daddy, come home." On November 9, 2022, Ivanna would have celebrated her twentieth birthday, she would have gotten the gift of a holiday in Turkey. But her life and dreams were destroyed forever by Russian bombs...

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Mykyta Perebyinis, 18 years old, village of Romanivka, Kyiv Oblast

Eighteen-year-old Mykyta Perebyinis died on March 6, 2022,...
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Mykyta Perebyinis, 18 years old, village of Romanivka, Kyiv Oblast

Eighteen-year-old Mykyta Perebyinis died on March 6, 2022, during evacuation from the shelled town of Irpin. Fleeing people came under mortar fire from the Russian army in the village of Romanivka and Mykyta suffered multiple shrapnel wounds on his body and head. His mother and younger sister died along with him.




It was the second time Mykyta ran away from the Russian army. He came from the Donetsk Oblast that his family left in 2014, when the armed conflict broke out there. He studied software engineering at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. The university would have been his gateway to the world, he wanted to live, have an interesting job, travel a lot. He was goal-oriented and always positive.

"Mines were exploding everywhere, Mykyta and his mother and sister tried in vain to hide from the explosions under the bridge over the Irpin river. The medical examiner's report subsequently confirmed that even in the worst moments, Mykyta tried to protect his younger sister Alisa: most of the shrapnel ended up in his body as he was trying to cover his sister," Kyiv National University Taras Shevchenko reported.

“There are so many things I didn't get to teach you, and there are so many things I passed on to you… You will never come to your father for advice again. I didn't want to break into your inner world, so I waited. I was waiting for you to find out that my advice and life experiences can be valuable to you. We managed to talk a lot, but the most important thing will forever remain unsaid," says Mykyta's father, Serhii Perebyinis.

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Danylo Prokopenko, 19 years old, Izyum

Nineteen-year-old Danylo Prokopenko died of his wounds...
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Danylo Prokopenko, 19 years old, Izyum

Nineteen-year-old Danylo Prokopenko died of his wounds after being hit in the head by shrapnel on May 4, 2022. On that day, heavy weapons of Russian troops attacked the direction of Izyum in the Kharkiv Oblast. A native of Izyum, Danylo was a student at the Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute of the National Technical University, where he was preparing to become an expert in the field of computer and information technology. He liked to ride his bike, he dreamed of working in the IT field, his hobby was traveling and exploring new places.

On the fateful day, Danylo went to his friend Artem to plan an evacuation from the shelled city. He did not find him at home, so he decided to wait for him. In a few minutes a Russian shell hit the house... "Danylo was a great and kind-hearted boy, he had a lot of friends. He readily helped everyone. He will forever remain in our hearts," says Danyl's father, Ruslan Prokopenko.

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Danill Shmahlii, 17 years old, Kyiv Oblast

Seventeen-year-old Daniil Shmahlii was killed on February...
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Danill Shmahlii, 17 years old, Kyiv Oblast

Seventeen-year-old Daniil Shmahlii was killed on February 25, 2022, during Russian shelling of the bridge over the Irpi River in Hostomel. As the young man's mother testified later, Daniil wanted to save himself by jumping into the water. It took a few weeks to find his body. He was buried on April 20, 2022. Daniil loved life. He studied conscientiously and hard, participated in a number of school competitions and regularly won. He played a lot of sports: he was a boxer, went to the gym, he loved skating and inline skating. He attended a circle of Ukrainian folk dances, he loved singing. He and his stepfather often played chess. He had a girlfriend he loved, Iryna…

"The last time we saw each other was February 22. We talked for a long time, joked, laughed. He never forgot to ask how we were, if we needed money or help with anything. Daniil was very frugal, and he wanted us to have our own place. He also cared deeply about his younger sister Darynka, and wanted her to have her own room," recalls the boy's mother, Iryna.

Born on Doctor's Day, Daniil dreamed of becoming a surgeon and wanted to save people's lives. He studied in the first year of the Bogomolets National Medical University. His classmates remember him as a kind and sensitive person with a refined sense of humor. They never forget to point out that he was extremely smart.‪


"Dan was always excellently prepared for anatomy, Latin, biology and history classes. Sometimes I had the impression that he knew almost everything. He often explained anatomy to us. We made fun of him that he would make a great teacher," says one of Daniil's classmates. She recalls how Daniil once asked his classmates if they thought there would ever be a war in Ukraine: "I remember that moment very clearly. Most of us just laughed and said there would be no war. Even Dan eventually believed so..."

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Polina Zheldak, 21 years old, Chernihiv

Twenty-one-year-old Polina Zheldak died on March 3, 2022,...
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Polina Zheldak, 21 years old, Chernihiv

Twenty-one-year-old Polina Zheldak died on March 3, 2022, during a Russian airstrike on Chernihiv. Her father Mykhailo, brother Hlib, fiancé Yevhen Kovalenko and grandmother Halyna Pecherna also died in the rubble of the family home.

Polina was born in Chernihiv and also lived in this city north of Kyiv near the Belarusian and Russian borders. She studied at the Nizhyn Pedagogical University, a hundred kilometers away, she wanted to become an English teacher, she worked as a lecturer. She was a creative girl: she played the guitar, wrote poetry, sang, painted pictures by numbers. She loved interior design. She liked to prepare surprises for her loved ones. Together with her fiancé Yevhen, they planned to organize language courses in Nizhyn.

"Polina was very intelligent and educated. She loved her work, she wanted to travel, marry Yevhyn and start a family, start a business... I miss her terribly," says her mother, Svitlana Zheldak.

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Memorial is a Ukrainian organization that has already published over 3,200 stories of people killed as a result of Russian aggression in Ukraine on its website. It helped us to process the portraits and has an important mission: to preserve the stories of those who lost their lives and let their loved ones, who are dealing with a painful loss, be heard.

"We hear every day from the relatives and friends of war victims that the project is important to them, that it helps them. We believe that our materials will help punish the guilty and that we contribute to making the voice of Ukraine be heard even more in the world. Because practically all of us have experienced the death of someone close to us. We hear about someone having died from our relatives, friends, and acquaintances every day. We do not want the people who lost their lives in the war in Ukraine to become just numbers in the statistics, remembering every person killed is valuable. That is why our project is important not only for us but for every Ukrainian.”

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