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Father mourns teenage son after grenades fall on Ukrainian soccer field

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE BELOW

MARIUPOL, Ukraine (AP) – The surgeons exiting the operating room do not make eye contact. One of them holds up his hands. Another looks defeated down. At that moment the father, waiting at the door, clutches his forehead, tears well up and turns away, a howl threatening to escape his throat.

The man, identified only as Serhii, enters the room to find his 16-year-old son Iliya motionless, covered by a blood-stained sheet.

Serhii falls down, hugs Iliya’s lifeless head and convulses in grief.

Iliya was mortally wounded while playing soccer in Mariupol on Wednesday when shelling began during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The explosives hit the soccer field near a school in the city on the Azov Sea.

Elsewhere in Mariupol, the illuminated, darkening sky was shelled as paramedics stood in a parking lot while heavy fighting continued on the outskirts on Thursday. The city was plunged into darkness as the battle knocked out most telephone services and raised the prospect of food and water shortages.

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Serhii, father of teenager Iliya, weeps over the lifeless body of his son lying on a stretcher at a maternity hospital converted into an infirmary, in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

With no phone lines, the paramedics didn’t know where to take the wounded. Others drove around town, with a crew finding a wounded woman who was placed on a stretcher, carried down the stairs and placed in an ambulance, hands shaking rapidly.

Cutting off Ukraine’s access to the Black and Azov Seas would deal a crippling blow to the Ukrainian economy. It would also allow Russia to build a land corridor to Crimea, which it seized in 2014.

That of Russian President Vladimir Putin Forces have brought their superior firepower to endure in recent days, firing hundreds of rocket and artillery attacks on cities and other places across the country and making significant progress in the south.

The Russians announced the capture of the southern city of Kherson, a vital Black Sea port of 280,000 people, and local Ukrainian officials confirmed the takeover of government headquarters there, making it the first major city to fall since the invasion began a week ago.

https://www.wavy.com/news/world/father-mourns-teen-son-after-shells-fall-on-ukrainian-soccer-field/ Father mourns teenage son after grenades fall on Ukrainian soccer field

Russell Falcon

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