It’s been weeks since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, and the carnage shows no signs of slowing.
On 7 March 2022, Russian forces killed Yuri Illich Prylypko, age 61, the mayor of the Ukrainian town of Gostomel. He was shot dead, along with two others, while distributing bread to the hungry and medicine to the sick of his town. Prylypko had been the mayor of Gostomel since 2015.
His associates also killed in the attack have been identified as Ruslan Karpenko and Yuriy Prylypko. They were also aiding with the distribution of food and supplies to townspeople when they were shot by Russian troops.
His death was announced to the world via the town’s Facebook page.
“No-one forced him to go under the occupiers’ bullets,” the post read. “He died for his people, for Gostomel. He died a hero.”
The town of Gostomel (or Hostomel) is northwest of Kyiv, and it is home to over 17,000 people and the strategic Antonov military airport. In the early days of the war, this airfield saw intense fighting. Most of its residents, however, have since fled to safer areas.
Because of the heroics of their citizens in defending their homeland, the town of Gostomel was recently awarded the title of “Hero City” by President Zelensky.
Mayor Prylypko is being hailed as a hero, a patriot, and a servant of the people of Ukraine. He was not a soldier or general, but an elected leader in a fledgling democracy trying to find its way.
May he rest in peace.