“It Was Just an Intersection With a Bus Stop”: Story of a Student From Mykolaiv Who Lost Three Relatives in One Day Due to a Russian Attack


“Around 10 am, they reported explosions in the Korabelnyi district. I asked my mother if she called her grandparents who were in Mykolaiv. She replied that she did, and they were fine. I asked her when she called. She said that it was at 8 am, they were just going to go to the market. I told her to dial again and at that moment my uncle called, he said that they were killed”, said Oleh Kalinin, a student from Mykolaiv. That day, Russian shelling claimed the lives of three of his relatives at once. He lost his other uncle, who was his godfather, as well as both of his grandparents. 

On the morning of July 29, Russians shelled Mykolaiv with cluster bombs. A densely populated residential area was targeted, and the invaders hit close to a bus stop injuring 19 people and killing eight. 

Yevheniia and Volodymyr Yurkovs were 69 and 70 years old respectively. Oleh’s grandmother worked all her life at the local research and development complex Zorya – Mashproekt, his grandfather was an electrician. Oleh’s 44-year-old uncle Valeriy Kalinin also worked as an electrician at a private enterprise, and since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, he volunteered at the local charity fund Svitli Spravy. He was married with two children, a son and a daughter.

Yevheniya and Volodymyr Yurkovs

Valeriy Kalinin

“Since the beginning of the war, my grandfather and grandmother took precautions, did not go anywhere, and constantly went down to the basement. They have a private house with a good basement. Only once a month they went to buy food. We immediately told them to buy as much as possible and not to go anywhere else,” said Oleh.

Two months after the beginning of the Russian invasion, Oleh’s parents decided to move to the Odesa Region. Despite their offer, his grandparents declined to move with them. His uncle, having sent his family abroad, also decided to stay in the city. 

The grandparents went shopping that day.

“On the way back they drove to this parking lot. We are still guessing why they went there and parked in that parking lot. Humanitarian aid is said to have been distributed there, but they did not receive it, left it for those who needed it more, and we gave them money, they had everything they needed. Why they went there is a mystery. They had already bought everything, they were heading home,” said the young man.  

The photo of the body, covered with a yellow sheet, lying near an old Zhiguli in the parking lot next to the public transport stop in the Korabelnyi district, was widely circulated later. When the family received a call from the police immediately after the tragedy, Oleh’s father realized from the car’s description that his brother was with his in-laws.

“They have described what kind of car and what license plates were nearby. My father realized it was his brother’s car and asked if the driver was nearby because my grandfather does not drive. But he was nowhere to be found,” Oleh recalls.

On the way to Mykolaiv, the family learned that Valeriy Kalinin died in intensive care from shrapnel wounds. His grandparents died on the spot, also from shrapnel.

“This is just a bus stop and apartment buildings. A little further are private houses. There were no military facilities there. It was just an intersection with a bus stop. That day the alarm ended, then in five minutes there was shelling and in a few minutes the alarm started again,” the young man said.

This tragedy once again proves that Russians are committing war crimes. According to the principles of International Humanitarian Law, which govern the rules of armed conflict, during hostilities, the parties must avoid civilian casualties. It is obvious that targeted attacks on the residential sector at a time when many people are on the streets are a war crime, as well as a demonstration that the invaders are systematically using terror tactics.

Mykolaiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office immediately initiated criminal proceedings on the fact of violation of the laws and customs of war, combined with premeditated murder (Part 2 of Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).

Oleh Kalinin and his family are now in the Odesa Region, and his uncle’s wife and children remain outside Ukraine: his daughter is studying at school, but his eldest son has enrolled at the Department of Cyber Security of the Odesa National University.  

“This loss has hit the family hard. Apparently, we are still trying to process what happened,” said Oleh.

Anastasiya Zubova

This article was created by Bihus.Info as part of the project “EU Urgent Support for Civil Society” implemented by ISAR Ednannia with the financial support of the European Union. The content of the article is the sole responsibility of Bihus.Info and does not necessarily reflect the position of the European Union.

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