Liza Dmytriyeva’s family and friends wiped away tears on Sunday when four men carried her coffin into the church, where a photo of the smiling girl nestled among roses and teddy bears three days later when she was. killed by a Russian cruise missile attack.
The death of Liza, a 4-year-old girl with Down syndrome nicknamed Sunshine Flower by her family, encapsulates the brutality of Russia Invades Ukraine.
The girl was walking with her mother, pushing her baby stroller through a park on Thursday when a spark and metal shrapnel broke out near them in Vinnytsia, a central Ukrainian town far from the front lines where little is still left. normal feeling. seems possible.
The attack killed 22 others, including two other children, and wounded 140. Liza’s mother, Iryna Dmytriyeva, lost a leg and remained unconscious.
On Sunday, Liza’s family, who had just learned her first words and prided herself on arranging toys, looked on as the coffin entered the church, according to video from the Associated Press.
When the priest, Vitalii Holoskevych, began to speak, he held the cross in one hand and wiped the tears from his cheeks with the other.
“Elizaveta,” he began, “stand and look close to God.” His voice cracked as he looked toward the coffin holding the body of a girl whose portrait in braids was long enough to touch her translucent purple coat.
Photos of Liza’s body, collapsed next to her mother’s overturned carriage and severed foot, have spread around the world since they were published. share online by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine. The visceral nature of the images manifests in the all-too-familiar flow of Russian military violence against civilians.
On Sunday, the men carrying Liza’s coffin to the cemetery wore pink armbands, while her father, Artem Dmitriev, staggered behind them, eyes closed as the two men embraced their shoulders.
By her grave, dozens of people gathered around the open coffin, where Liza’s plush toys lay in her lap: a white rabbit, a grizzly bear, a criss-crossed elk. . Mr. Dmitriev knelt down and cried.
As a string band played, Liza’s grandmother, Larysa Dmytryshyna, shouted to her niece: The song, she said, was playing “for you.”
Then the workers closed the coffin and lowered it to the grave.
Liza’s family held the dirt in their hands and spread the dirt on her.