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WORLD NEWS | ‘Oh my daughter’: Volunteer military doctor, 29, buried in Ukraine

The LATAM Airlines plane hit the vehicle on the runway (Image: Twitter / @AirCrash_)

Vinnytsia (Ukraine), March 7 (AP) — Mourners choked back tears as their mother’s anguished cries pierced the chilly morning air.

“Oh Jana, oh my daughter,” howled Olena Rikhlitska. “My baby, my little baby.”

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Her only child, Yana Rikhlitska, 29, lies in a coffin in front of her, the young woman’s blond hair still tied in tight knots from when she voluntarily joined the Ukrainian army as a medic late last year. in the braid.

Just over a week ago, Associated Press reporters filmed Yana Rikhlitska helping treat wounded soldiers at a field hospital outside Bakhmut, as Russian forces fought to seize Ukraine. The hospital was destroyed in a three-way attack on the eastern city.

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A few days later, she died.

Richlicka and another medic were killed by shells while shuttling between the field hospital and the front lines.

As friends, colleagues and relatives gathered Tuesday to bid her a final farewell in her hometown of Vinnytsia in central Ukraine, they were reminded of a man full of energy and a lifelong dedication to helping others.

“She’s really friendly and kind,” said Viktor Fateyev, 39, a colleague in the IT company’s human resources department.

“She’s like everyone’s mother; she’s the focal point for everyone.”

Rikhlitska was in Brazil on February 24, 2022, before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Fateev, who said she spent months practicing capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art, in the South American country, waited to pay his respects at a funeral with a bouquet of yellow tulips in his hand .

She flew home after the invasion and immediately began fundraising and volunteering with the army to help with Ukraine’s defense efforts, he said. Soon after, she decided to become a frontline doctor.

Fateyev said he spotted her in an AP video when it aired and posted it in a group chat of her colleagues.

“Everyone is very excited,” he said.

“And then, the next day…” His voice trailed off.

Tetiana Obraztsova, 30, a member of a volunteer combat medical unit who met Rikhlitska in September, said Rikhlitska delivered humanitarian aid to Bakhmut even before she became an army doctor. For six months, Russia has been trying to take the city.

“From the beginning of Total War, she did everything she could,” Obrazova said.

Volunteer Anastasia Muzyka, 29, recalled that Rikhlitska was smart, kind and tireless.

“She’s hot, in a good way. She’s so dedicated. It’s like she never tires,” Muzyka said.

In combat, eventually even soldiers need rest, she adds, “but Yara doesn’t. She’s always there, helping everyone.”

It was during her volunteer work in August that she met her future husband, Oleksandr, who served in the Ukrainian army. Amid the din of war, their love blossomed and the couple married on December 31, 2022.

“She is fire, a fire that cannot be extinguished,” said Oleksandr, who would only give his first name.

Childhood friend Snizhana Zaliubivska, 28, remembers Rikhlitska’s desire to help others as a child. The pair lost touch in recent years, but Zaliubivska was devastated to hear of her friend’s death.

“It’s no surprise that she volunteers. She’s a true patriot for this country,” she said. “She will never turn anyone down, she always helps anyone who asks.”

Lihlicka’s coffin, covered with the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag, was transported to the military section of the local cemetery and opened again.

The mother’s face was livid, she gently stroked her daughter’s cheek, and finally kissed her.

“No, no!” cried Olena Rikhlitska as the coffin was carried to the grave and lowered with a gun salute. Only the support of her husband Mikola and another relative kept her from sinking to the ground.

Behind them, rows of Ukrainian flags fluttered over the graves of the war dead, flapping in the breeze. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)

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