To Defenders of Freedom

Craftsmen and volunteer Vitalii Kyrkach-Antonenko died on the frontline in the Luhansk region

A serviceman Vitalii Kyrkach-Antonenko was killed in action on November 9, 2022, in the Luhansk region. The defender will now forever be 35 years old. Vitalii left behind a pregnant wife.

Vitalii was from the Donetsk region. He went to the Maidanska and Prelesnianka schools, then graduated from the Biology faculty of the Vasyl’ Stus Donetsk National University. Vitalii lived in Slovyansk, where he was a well-known activist of the “Svoboda” All-Ukrainian Union. He had been volunteering since 2014.

Before the full-scale war, Vitalii and his wife were craftspeople: they produced exclusive handmade porcelain and clay jewelry at their own studio, selling primarily to the international market.

A week before the invasion, Vitalii wanted to join the army, but he had a certificate of exemption from military service because of his spinal condition. He was sent back to collect documents. But on 24 February, a man received a phone call with an invitation to join the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Thus, from the first days of the full-scale war, Vitalii joined the army. He assisted in the liberation of the city of Lyman in the Donetsk region.

Photo: Nataliia Kyrkach-Antonenko Facebook page

“Ukrainians, in turn, need to get ready to be involved in this war. It is difficult for me to advise how one can be ready for it psychologically. Apparently, only on the battlefield, when you find yourself in a difficult situation, you can understand if you are ready or not. But even from a purely practical point of view, you need to get yourself ready to be sent to the battlefront,” Vitalii said in his interview on 2 November.

In late October, the man had a short leave and visited his wife in Kyiv for a few days. In his last post, he published their photo together and wrote that he was happy.

Photo: Nataliia Kyrkach-Antonenko Facebook page

“Sunny and positive, it is a delight to be useful to such bright people. This is the case when, even through text or voice messages from a stranger, the warmth and energy reach you thousands of kilometers away. And a person becomes like a family member because he is extremely sincere, kind, and welcoming. This can be seen even in the photo: in the midst of the horrors of war, he was the embodiment of life, joy, gratitude, and dignity,” wrote his friend Daryna Berezhnyova.

The defender was buried in the Alley of Heroes of the Northern Cemetery in Slovyansk, the Donetsk region.

The story was prepared by the Memorial. The platform collects stories of servicemen and civilians killed by Russia.

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