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Ukrainian energy workers killed by Russia

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Russia has been deliberately targeting Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. Missile and drone attacks are destroying power stations and lines, leaving entire towns and villages without electricity. And energy workers repair them to provide light and heat to Ukrainian homes, even despite the constant danger.

These are the stories of Ukrainian electricians and energy workers killed by Russia while performing their professional duties. 

The stories were prepared by the Memorial Memory Platform. The project tells the stories of the Ukrainian military and civilians killed by Russia.

Vladyslav Pidhainyi, Andrii Fedotkin, and Artem Veretennyk

May 3, 2023
the Kherson region

Vladyslav Pidhainyi, Andrii Fedotkin, and Artem Veretennyk died on May 3, 2023, near the village of Stepanivka in the Kherson region. They were repairing the high-voltage power lines to restore the energy supply for the villages nearby.

Photo: Personal archive

Vladyslav Pidhainyi, 32, was from the village of Myroliubivka, the Kherson region. He was orphaned at an early age and raised by his grandmother. 

Vladyslav studied to be an electrician and worked in his specialty. When the full-scale invasion began, he stayed in Myrolyubivka despite the occupation. He volunteered, bringing medicines to the temporarily occupied territory whenever possible.

Vladyslav repaired power lines destroyed by Russia’s shelling. His classmate Iryna said that Vladyslav repeatedly asked the occupation forces to allow him to restore the electricity supply to the village.

“When they got permission, he and several other specialists repaired the power lines so that we, civilians, could have light for a while. He made repairs every two or three days and had been coming under fire. I was amazed at his courage and resilience. It was very hard for him,” said Iryna. “He was my classmate and friend. I have known him all my life. He was really a very good person. Kind, sincere, honest, a real man, and a friend.”

Vladyslav is survived by his wife, daughter, son, and sister.

Andrii Fedotkin, 31, was an electrician for the high-voltage line service from Kherson.

He enjoyed fishing and spending time with his friends. “He had many friends. He never had any conflicts with anyone. He did his job, even if it was difficult. He was very experienced; he had been working in this field for over ten years,” said Fedir, Andrii’s colleague.

Photo: Personal archive

Since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, Andrii continued to do his job despite the danger.

“Our job during the war is, to a certain extent, a volunteering. Try to find someone to go to the places where the shooting is ongoing willingly. You will be picked up (to the power lines – ed.), and the occupiers will hunt you down, look at you through binoculars. At these moments, you think about what is on that commander’s or artillerist’s mind: to pardon or shoot? Not every person can withstand it. Psychologically, it’s very difficult,” explains Fedir.

In March 2023, Andrii was injured when he went with a crew to repair the lines that power a water pump for Mykolaiv.

Fedir remembers that day: “We started working. A tractor was driving, and we, four people, were walking behind. A shell fell near us… Then Andrii said: “Something touched my back”. He got a shrapnel nail under his shoulder blade… He was looking for a doctor to operate on him for a long time until one from Mykolaiv agreed. Andrii got better. He returned from the hospital, worked for three days, and died.”

Andrii is survived by his mother, father, and brother.

Artem Veretennyk, 36, was from Kherson. He worked as a builder and a security guard before getting an electrician’s degree and getting a job at Khersonoblenergo  (a regional power company). 

In his free time, Artem liked to go fishing with his father, Ihor.

From the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, he helped local elderly people with various household chores.

Photo: Personal archive

“Artem was a calm guy. He had many friends, and everyone spoke well of him. He always went out of his way to help people. (…) Everyone says to me: “Hold on”. But no one will bring my son back…,” said his father, Ihor. Artem is survived by his father, mother, sister, and two nephews.

Roman Lisovenko and Oleksandr Shpak

May 19, 2023
the Sumy region

Roman Lisovenko and Oleksandr Shpak were killed on May 19, 2023, in the Yunakivska territorial community of the Sumy region. They worked together; on that day, they went to look for a damaged power line. Russian troops attacked their car using a drone with an explosive device. Both electricians and the driver, Hennadii Pokhylko, were killed on the spot.

Photo from personal archive.

Roman Lisovenko, 49, worked as an electrician at Sumyoblenergo (a regional power company) for about 10 years. His colleagues remember him as a professional worker and a good friend.

During lunch breaks, Roman liked to play chess with his colleagues. He usually spent his free time with his family and often went fishing. Roman was also eager to help his grandmother with the housework.

“You won’t share the joy of my achievements, you won’t say how proud you are. You won’t be there for the new stages of my life, and you won’t say: “Daughter, I love you”. There were so many things and so many future memories that will never be. You will always be 49, and I lost you, my best, forever at 25,” Roman`s eldest daughter, Anastasia, wrote.

Roman Lisovenko is survived by his wife, two daughters, and grandmother.

Oleksandr Shpak, 55, also worked at Sumyoblenergo for more than 10 years. He was an electrician, a specialist in the repair of power lines. From the first days of the full-scale war, Oleksandr helped restore the electricity supply in the settlements of the region.

His friends and family remember Oleksandr as sensitive, good-natured, and fair. He did not tolerate insincerity.

In his free time, Oleksandr loved to fish. He was a good family man, a loving son. After the loss of his parents, he often visited their grave in his hometown.

Photo from personal archive.

“We grew up together, worked together, lived next door to each other. On May 19, Oleksandr and I went to work together, but I returned from work alone… I have only the best memories of him. He was a good man, a sincere one. He was very fond of his granddaughter, and spending time with her was probably his biggest hobby. Last year, Sasha [short for Oleksandr – ed.] had a grandson,” said Volodymyr Solodovnyk, a colleague and a friend.

Oleksandr Shpak is survived by his wife, daughter, and two grandchildren.

Oleksandr Diadiura, 44

March 2022
the Kyiv region

Oleksandr Diadiura, 44, was shot dead by the Russians at the end of March 2022. A few days before the liberation of the Kyiv region, he was captured by enemy soldiers near a cell tower. The occupiers interrogated Oleksandr, tortured him, and then shot him in cold blood. The man’s mutilated body was found on April 10, 2022, on the territory of a private kindergarten in Irpin.

Photo from personal archive.

Oleksandr was born in the village of Trylisy, the Kyiv region. He studied at the 

Faculty of Electric Power Engineering and Automatics of the National Technical University of Ukraine and later worked as the chief power engineer of the utility company Buchaservice. His colleagues remember him as a wonderful person and a good specialist. Oleksandr loved playing the guitar and had many friends.

When Russia’s full-scale invasion began, Oleksandr took his wife and children to his parents in the village of Trylisy, and joined the voluntary formations of the Bucha territorial community.

Despite constant shelling and danger to his life, Oleksandr Diadiura tried to restore the destroyed infrastructure to the last. He was near a cell tower under shelling, doing his best to keep it working.

“Sasha (short for Oleksandr, – ed.) was very kind and friendly. He always helped and did not stay away from other people’s troubles. He volunteered for the territorial defense even though he had not previously served in the military and had poor eyesight. Sasha loved life, people, his work, his family,” said Sofia, Oleksandr’s wife.

On April 27, 2022, Oleksandr was buried in the cemetery in the village of Trylisy. The man was posthumously awarded the title of honorary citizen of Bucha. Oleksandr is survived by his mother, father, sister, wife Sofia, and three children.