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CNN Reporter Breaks Down Crying While Ukrainian Father Recounts Learning Of His Family’s Death On Twitter

CNN Reporter Cries While Ukrainian Father Recounts Learning Of His Family’s Death Via Viral Photo On Twitter

As Russia’s war against Ukraine continues, many have been left in shambles by the devastation, including one man who discovered his entire family had died via social media.

On Wednesday night, Serhiy Perebyinis, a husband and father of two, joined CNN reporter via Skype to share the harrowing details of his tragic story — bringing the newscaster (and every viewer, we’d imagine) to tears.

After sharing her condolences for his “unbearable loss,” news anchor Erin Burnett asked the grieving family man to share his story. Serhiy explained that he had left his wife, Tetiana, and their 18-year-old son Mykita and 9-year-old daughter Alisa at their home just outside of Kyiv to take care of his sick mother in eastern Ukraine. But while gone, situations at home grew dire as the city lost its access to electricity and water as part of Russia’s malicious attack.

Related: Ukrainian-Born Mila Kunis Talks Invasion With Children: ‘My Heart Just Got Ripped Out’

While it was challenging to communicate with anyone in the city at that time, he was somehow able to get ahold of his wife – resulting in what would be their last conversation. He recalled:

“That was the day when already there was no water, electricity, gas, and we discussed — I spoke to her at 10 p.m., even though at that point there was no connectivity either. But I managed to get through and had a discussion about potential evacuation.”

An evacuation grew challenging when the group the family was supposed to travel with had been attacked, he added:

“At the last moment, however, the convoy she was planning to travel with was shelled at and fired at. And then she came on foot to the bridge, trying to make an escape on foot.”

Sadly, as they ventured out on foot, the family was killed in a mortar shelling attack. Being so far away, Serhiy didn’t realize that at first. What he did know was his family’s devices, which he was able to track, were showing up in odd locations, he detailed:

“I noticed that there was an unusual geolocation between Kyiv and their pin. And then 20 minutes later, her phone moved to another location, to a hospital in Kyiv. And I suspected something was wrong.”

He asked his friends in the area to go check out the hospital for him. A quick look at social media then answered his worst fears. A photo published on the front page of the New York Times and taken by photographer Lynsey Addario was going viral. The haunting image (see here if you wish) depicted four deceased civilians who had been traveling with their luggage — they were believed to be a family of four at the time of publication.

Perebyinis took one look and recognized his children instantly:

“And then I saw a photo on Twitter, and I recognized my children. I recognized their things and their clothes. And I called my friends to say that the children are dead. Their bodies are lying on pavement.”

After three days of driving, he was able to recover the bodies of his wife and children, in part by breaking into the site where they were. He also recovered the remains of a pet dog. They have been laid to rest. So heartbreaking…

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Erin then asked if Serhiy wished to share more about his beloved family members so that the world could remember them for who they were. Describing his wife of 23 years, he gushed:

“She was a very cheerful person, she was the financial director of a large American company. We spent lots of time together as a family. We loved bicycles, in winter we went skiing, and she loved very much planting flowers at her dacha, countryside cottage.”

He also noted that in 2012, the couple “had a second wedding at the church, [because] we wanted to make the marriage lawful in the skies above us.” Tetiana was just 43 at the time of her death. According to Fortune, she worked as chief accountant for SE Rankings, a Silicon Valley tech company.

His son was in his second year of university studying programming with a dream of becoming an IT professional. Meanwhile, his little girl “liked dancing [and] painting.” She was also studying English. He described them both as “normal, cheerful children.”

We simply cannot imagine the heartache this father is feeling. Listen to his tear-jerking interview (below):

Our hearts break for him and all those who have lost a loved one in this merciless war. What a terribly shocking way to learn of his family’s death…

[Image via CNN]

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Mar 17, 2022 08:26am PDT