Ukraine pays tribute to “Da Vinci”, heroes of Ukraine killed in the battle for Bakhmout
Thousands of people, including President Volodymyr Zelensky and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, paid tribute in Kyiv to Dmytro Kotsyubailo, known as “Da Vinci”. This 27-year-old volunteer who led a battalion called the Da Vinci Wolves (“Da Vinci’s Wolves”) was killed by the Russians during the Battle of Bakhmout.
President Zelensky announced his death in a video address on Tuesday. “Da Vinci” took up arms in 2014 to fight Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. For his feats of arms, he was the youngest fighter to have received from President Zelensky, in December 2021, the Hero of Ukraine medal, the country’s highest honor.
Present on the spot, the chief of staff of the armies, Valeri Zaloujny, knelt near the coffin. “The road to our victory is very difficult. And the price of this victory is the lives of our warriors, the best Ukrainian citizens who defended the country with arms in hand”he launched. “You have to be sure that we won’t just avenge you. We will definitely achieve victory. Sleep in peace, my friend”added the military leader.
Mourners, carrying flowers and waving Ukrainian flags, marched down the hill to the iconic Independence Square.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of people paid their last respects to a father and son also killed in the battle for Bakhmout. Oleh Khomiouk, 52, and his son Mykyta, 25, had gone to fight as volunteers at the start of the Russian invasion in February 2022. Both died on March 2, killed by the same shell in the same trench, according to their family. The father and son had joined the territorial defense to defend kyiv, then fought in the regions of Kherson and Kharkiv before ending up in Donbass (East).
Ukraine has not revealed its human losses since the start of the Russian invasion. The latest Western estimate, the Norwegian Chief of Staff, Eirik Kristoffersen, said in January that the war in Ukraine has left nearly 180,000 dead or wounded in the ranks of the Russian army and “probably beyond 100,000 dead and injured” among the Ukrainian military, a toll to which he added 30,000 civilians killed.