KREMENCHUK, Ukraine — After a Russian missile hit the Amstor shopping center last week, Sabina Hrytsai was unable to reach her husband by phone and tried social media.
“I’m looking for my beloved husband,” she wrote on Facebook, describing what 27-year-old Evgeny was wearing as he headed to the mall for his shift.
“Honey, I think you’re alive,” she added.
But after so many days of waiting, her hope was fading. The hospitals said they didn’t have him. The police couldn’t find him either. Neither did the employees at the electronics retailer for which he worked as a sales consultant.
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“I just want him to live,” Hrytsai said in an interview in Kremenchuk, the city southwest of Kyiv where they both grew up and celebrated their first anniversary on June 11.
After the cruise missile attack on Monday, 21 deaths have now been confirmed, Ukraine’s state rescue service said on Saturday. Another 66 were injured.
Work is ongoing to identify more than two dozen human remains recovered at the scene of one of the Russian invasion’s deadliest attacks on Ukraine.
Russia has admitted targeting the mall but called it a military target and denied there were any civilian casualties. Both claims were dismissed as untruths. A vehicle factory 500 meters away was also hit.
An air raid alert began about 10 minutes before the missiles exploded just before 4 p.m
But Hrytsai told Global News that a few days before the attack, her husband said the mall had adopted a new policy to respond to the sirens.
Instead of closing when they rang, the mall should remain open and employees should make their own decisions about whether to shelter, she said.
“It shouldn’t be like that,” Hrytsai said. “We have a war in the country, so the rules should be followed. If you have a siren, things like malls should be closed.”
Evgeny was always busy sheltering and when the sirens went off, the newlyweds called each other to make sure they were safe, she said.
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“And why he didn’t leave the mall on the 27th I don’t know. Maybe because he had a client,” she said. “He was afraid all along that he would make less money.”
Another mall worker who survived the attack said from his hospital bed that he saw a social media post advising that the mall should remain open during the airstrike sirens.
Kremenchuk Mayor Vitalii Maletskyi said an investigation revealed that on June 23 a message from the mall’s administration said that “from that day forward they would not close during an air raid,” Poltava News reported.
Hrytsai walked her two dogs in a schoolyard park and said the pets missed Evgeny and were waiting for his return.
“These are our children,” she said. “Because we didn’t have time to have kids of our own.”
“He was a very kind person, very open,” she said. “He always gave me everything. He kept telling me, ‘I don’t want you to work a job you don’t like.’”
“That’s why he worked there in that exact place, because before the war it was one of the places in the city that paid well.”
After the Russian invasion on February 24, he was worried about losing his job, she said. Monday was supposed to be Evgeny’s day off but he was called, she added.
The couple argued before he left for work because she didn’t want him to go. She wanted him to quit and find a new job that would treat him better, but he wanted to find employment first.
“I didn’t even say goodbye to him, I was so upset,” she said.
She was at home when she heard the explosions. She called Evgeny, but he did not answer. She suspected he was sheltering in a basement.
When he didn’t call back, she thought he was still upset about their argument, and then she saw a photo of the fire at the Amstor mall.
She ran there, but could not find him, so she went to the Kremenchuk hospital. “But they told me we don’t have your husband anywhere,” she said.
“So until today I’ll wait.”
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https://globalnews.ca/news/8962450/russian-missile-destroys-mall-wife-waits/ After a Russian missile destroys a mall, missing man’s wife waits and hopes – National