On Wednesday, a man told a CNN news anchor how his wife and children were killed in an attack in Ukraine.
Serhiy Perebyinis spoke about the moment he realized he had lost his family.
A Russian mortar strike on March 6 killed the wife, son, and daughter of Perebyinis in their hometown of Irpin.
A heartbreaking photo of the victims was taken by a New York Times photographer. During his interview with CNN, Perebyinis talked about the nightmare moment he found out that his family had been killed.
“I saw a photo on Twitter and I recognized my children.” – Serhiy Perebyinis speaks with Erin Burnett about how he found out that his wife and two children had been killed in Russian shelling. pic.twitter.com/GlPe45diWy
— CNN (@CNN) March 17, 2022
At the time of the attack, he was in eastern Ukraine looking after his sick mother, but he had been keeping an eye on his family.
“We used to see each other with my wife on Google Maps, and that morning I noticed that there was unusual geolocation between Kyiv and their ping, and then 20 minutes later her phone moved to another location – to a hospital in Kyiv and I suspected something was wrong,” he said.
When he saw reports of a family being killed by shelling, the father of two’s worst fears was confirmed.
“I saw a photo on Twitter and I recognized my children. Their things, their clothes, and I called my friends to say ‘the children are dead, their bodies are lying on the pavement,'” he recalled. “And I said ‘could you help me find my wife?'”
She had to stop and compose herself several times as she wiped tears from her face and her voice shook with the effort of holding back a sob.
“Serhiy, as a parent, any person around the world can’t imagine your unbearable loss. Above all, losing your children…,” she said shakingly, before asking: “Can you tell me about them?”
The father described his children as cheerful and normal. He paid tribute to his wife, who was the financial director of Silicon Valley company SE Rankings, and to whom he was married for 23 years.
When he was asked if he had been able to bury his family, he said that he had.
“I was driving for three days and I broke in there and managed to bury everyone. I even managed to take away a pet dog from there,” he said.
By the end of the interview, Burnett’s face was smudged with make-up and tears. She thanked the man for sharing his story.