February 5, 2023
Anastasiya Yalanska (L), Serhiy Ustymenko (2d from proper), and Maxym Kuzmenko (R) pose for a photograph no longer lengthy prior to being killed in Bucha on March 4, 2022. Their fourth pal didn’t sign up for the crowd on that day, and is alive.

At midday on March 4, an SUV drove throughout the streets of Bucha, previously a comfortable inexperienced the city close to Kyiv, now a hotspot of Russia’s battle in opposition to Ukraine.

3 other folks had been within the automotive: Serhiy Ustymenko, 25, a co-founder of a automotive restore store, Maxym Kuzmenko, 28, a hookah server, and Anastasia Yalanska, 26, a lead recruiter at an IT corporate.

Bucha used to be and stays a deadly position, now in large part managed via Russian forces. The 3 younger Ukrainians had been there on the most important project. 

They’d simply delivered pet food to a canine safe haven that had run out of it and had been on their as far back as select up Ustymenko’s oldsters. 

They’d simply just about made it house. As the auto used to be coming near their space, there used to be a deafening sound.

A Russian car – witnesses establish it as both a tank or an infantry combating car – opened hearth at the automotive.

Valeriy Ustymenko, the daddy of Serhiy, witnessed the assault. He noticed the auto be ripped aside, along with his son in it.

When the taking pictures stopped, he ran to the auto. Everybody inside of used to be already useless. 

He dragged out the 3 our bodies and took them to his basement, the place he has been hiding from the consistent shelling, like the general public in Bucha.

3 days later, the our bodies are nonetheless there. Because of consistent shelling, they may be able to’t be buried. Their buddies and households can’t say good-bye to their family members. 

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Ustymenko’s father continues to be within the basement, hiding from the shelling, with the our bodies of his son and his son’s two buddies.

There used to be no approach that Russians didn’t know they had been taking pictures at civilians, the sufferers’ buddies say.

“The automobile used to be (clearly) civilian,” mentioned Dmytro Zubkov, a chum of Maxym Kuzmenko. “Maxym used to be dressed in a hat with a pom pom. They didn’t appear to be the army in any respect.”

Serhiy Ustymenko, 25, used to be a automotive lover and a co-owner of a provider station in Kyiv.

Serhiy Ustymenko, 25, dependable pal

Ustymenko grew to become 25 in December. In spite of his younger age, he had controlled to succeed in so much.

He co-founded a automotive restore store in Kyiv and united a large crowd of buddies round it, mentioned his pal Ivan Soloviy.

“He used to be the most efficient motive force of, smartly,” Soloviy paused, “all of Kyiv.”

Ustymenko used to be a member of a number of car golf equipment and teams, Soloviy mentioned.

“His provider station used to be at all times open for us. Not too long ago, we might handiest get in combination there,” Soloviy mentioned.

Buddies take into accout Ustymenko as “the soul of any corporate,” but in addition a sort and dependable pal. 

“He used to be a chum,” Soloviy mentioned, sobbing, “that may by no means betray you.”

Maxym Kuzmenko, 28, used to be a hookah professional and Youtuber. 

Maxym Kuzmenko, 28, relentless volunteer

Maxym Kuzmenko, 28, a hookah server in a Kyiv bar, may be remembered warmly via his buddies.

“He used to be at all times there for many who wanted him,” mentioned Kateryna Zhvalyuk, his employer and pal. 

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Throughout the coronavirus lockdown in Kyiv, Kuzmenko volunteered as a motive force. He returned to volunteer paintings when Russia introduced its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in overdue February. 

When the invasion began, Zhvalyuk’s bar began serving to the Ukrainian military and hospitals with meals. Kuzmenko ran deliveries.

When the bar ran out of meals, Kuzmenko made up our minds to stay volunteering along with his different buddies, turning in very important items to other folks throughout Kyiv Oblast.

Zubkov, a co-founder of a pizza eating place chain, used to be a kind of buddies. He cooked foods that Kuzmenko delivered.

“We cooked for everybody who wanted it,” he mentioned. “Extra steadily we helped the aged and youngsters’s most cancers hospitals.” 

“He at all times did greater than used to be anticipated from him. You give him a role and he does extra,” mentioned Zhvalyuk. “I used to invite him: ‘Why are you doing extra when it’s excellent sufficient already?’ He would resolution: ‘I will have to recuperate than I’m now’.”

Anastasiya Yalanska, 26, used to be an IT recruiter and a blogger.

Anastasia Yalanska, 26, courageous and simple

Anastasia Yalanska, 26, used to be a skilled IT recruiter.

She began her new activity simply 3 weeks in the past. The group used to be satisfied to have her sign up for them, her colleagues mentioned. 

“I requested her if she sought after to develop and run HR for a big corporate…how prime she sought after to achieve…she mentioned: ‘Sure, I will be able to do it’,” mentioned Jeremy Achin, her boss. “She used to be very formidable, she used to be no longer scared.”

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Achin concept that with the best steerage Yalanska may reach nice heights in her box.

“However now we can by no means see that long term,” he mentioned, bursting into tears.

Andriy Piddubny, Yalanska’s former colleague, recalls her warmly. He mentioned she used to be “skilled, fair, and simple.”

“She at all times spoke her thoughts,” he mentioned. “She used to be very devoted and upbeat, everybody beloved her.”

Yalanska’s highest pal Anastasiya Hryshchenko mentioned that her friends and family had been involved for her protection and requested her to keep away from puts of heavy shelling.

“She at all times helped the ones in want,” mentioned Yalanska’s husband Eugen Yalanskiy. “Till her final breath. She used to be the most efficient of all other folks.”