War in Ukraine | Homage to a young “hero” who was killed in battle

(Kyiv) Roman Ratouchny was a figure in the pro-European Maidan movement, an anti-corruption activist, and he fought with the Ukrainian army against Russian forces. Thousands of people commemorated this “hero” who was killed in the East at the age of 24 on Saturday in Kyiv’s Independence Square.

Posted at 10:24 am

Benoît FINCK
Media Agency France

In front of the coffin covered with a yellow and blue Ukrainian flag at the foot of the monument overlooking this iconic capital square, people of all ages honored the memory of the young man who, like many other civilians, had joined the army since the start of the Russian offensive on February 24th.


Photo Natacha Pisarenko, Associated Press

Roman Ratouchny died on June 9 near Izium, Kharkiv region.

“I think it’s important to be here because he’s a hero of Ukraine and we need to remember him,” Dmytro Ostrovsky, a 17-year-old student, told AFP.

Roman Ratushny died on June 9 near Izium in the Kharkiv region, where Ukrainian forces are facing the Russian army.

They came alone or with their family, young or old, to the Place de l’Indépendance, taking turns approaching the remains, kneeling or kneeling and laying a hand on the coffin on which many flowers were laid. .


Photo VALENTYN OGIRENKO, REUTERS

Members of the Ukrainian honor guard carry the coffin of the young soldier.

“You were a brother to everyone, a son to some and a father figure to others,” said his father Taras Ratouchny, paying tribute to his son in front of the crowd.

“Roman has always fought for a good cause and he is a role model for all of us, for young people,” adds Hlib, a 29-year-old soldier.

Ratouchny was one of the first students to protest on this square, the Maidan, in late 2013, the scene of massive pro-European demonstrations that led to the ousting of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014.

wave of reactions

Alongside his political and anti-corruption activities in Ukraine, Ratouchny ran the NGO Protasiv Yar, named after a historical place in Kyiv defended by activists trying to protect this area from illegal construction leading to the destruction of a large forest district.

His activism within this NGO had earned him death threats. He had appealed to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Kyiv Prosecutor General, but no criminal investigation was opened.


Photo Natacha Pisarenko, Associated Press

“If there were 10 people like Roman in Ukraine, we would live in a completely different country,” Ostrovsky said.

In the morning, hundreds of people, including Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klistchko, attended the funeral at the Saint-Michel-au-Dôme-d’Or monastery in central Kyiv.

“Although I didn’t know him personally, I felt (his death) a loss because as my view of the world was formed, (Roman) became a person that influenced my view and the person I am now,” Alina Horhol, a student who attended the ceremony in front of the monastery, told AFP news agency.

“Roman was the kind of person who could have changed a lot of things in our society,” she added.

The announcement of his death earlier this week sparked a spate of reactions on social media, including that of English football legend Gary Linecker, who retweeted the information, writing: “tragic”.

“Roman Ratouchny, one of the student protesters beaten by the police on the first night of the Maidan revolution, […]I have interviewed him several times […] a very lively, very intelligent guy,” tweeted journalist Oliver Carroll.

After the tribute was paid on the Maidan, six soldiers carried the coffin down the steps of the square through the crowds gathered on either side before depositing it in a hearse.

He was to be buried in the afternoon at the Baikove Cemetery in southern Kyiv, where many Ukrainian figures are buried.

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