Ukraine: actress and her four cats killed by rocket fragment as she slept in 16th-floor flat

A well-known Ukrainian actress with a distinguished stage career, Oksana Shvets, was killed while she slept in her 16th-floor flat in Kyiv, Ukraine as a result of a freak accident, as it happens.

Oksana Shvets
Oksana Shvets. Photo in public domain (assessed).

The flat is in the south-east of Kyiv miles from any frontline fighting or any previous missile strike. Regrettably, a missile that was flying above her flat was intercepted by Ukrainian rocket.

The Russian missile exploded and broke into several parts. One of those parts flew through her bedroom window, while she was asleep, killing her instantly.

Shvets was a known cat lover. She fed the local strays and took them in. At the moment she was struck by this piece of missile junk, it appears that her four cats were in her bedroom, perhaps on her bed at the time. Accordingly, they died with her.

Perhaps we can be comforted by the fact that it must have been an instant death. Perhaps she did not even realise it for a second.

It is incredibly sad that this well-loved person had her life taken from in such tragic circumstances. There is another potentially good aspect to this, if it is possible to say that, which is that her cats died with her. Without her they would have struggled to survive.

Sasha, an IT engineer was in the next room at the moment she was killed and survived unscathed.  I think he is her son.

Natasha Tsytsiarieva, a neighbour next door, said: "She was a beautiful person, a real star, kind to us all".

A fellow actor, Anatoly Petrov, 66, said that it is hard for him to believe that she has gone as they were acting on stage at the start of the war last month. Her last performance on February 12 was of a classic manipulative, scheming mother-in-law in a Ukrainian tragedy. Petrov played the young wife's father.

Her body was laid out amid the broken glass in front of her apartment block, covered by a shroud. Her son Sasha, 35, knelt over her body in shock and distress.

This is another tragic and distressing snippet from this brutal, unnecessary and illegal war started by Putin who wants to annex Ukraine and call it Russia. He wants to increase in an instant the population of Russia because it is declining. 

And he wants to return Russia to the old USSR. He is scared of Ukraine's democracy. He fears that it is contagious and that there might be a revolution in Russia to depose him. He doesn't mind whether he takes possession of a country that has been destroyed by his forces. And he doesn't mind if it takes possession of a country in which the citizens universally hate him and therefore his objective is entirely futile.

There is no doubt in my mind that he has engaged in war crimes. I agree with Biden on this. Many others will agree with me too. We can only hope that when this is over, he is somehow taken to The Hague, Netherlands, for a trial.

But it will never bring back people like Shvets.

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