Washington, D.C. — RFE/RL mourns the death of Ukrainian Service journalist Vira Hyrych, who died in Kyiv after a Russian air strike hit the residential building where she lived in the Ukrainian capital.
Hyrych’s body was found early in the morning on April 29 amid the wreckage of the building, which was hit by a Russian missile the night before, RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service said.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of our Ukrainian Service staffer Vira Hyrych in Kyiv overnight. We have lost a dear colleague who will be remembered for her professionalism and dedication to our mission,” said RFE/RL President Jamie Fly. “We are shocked and angered by the senseless nature of her death at home in a country and city she loved. Her memory will inspire our work in Ukraine and beyond for years to come,” he added.
Said Ukrainian Service director Maryana Drach of her colleague, “It is very difficult to realize that Vira is not here, it takes your breath away. We met every morning to coordinate the work of our correspondents, review coverage, seek out exclusive angles on the news. Vira was not only a professional, but also a person with a good heart: she helped RFE/RL Afghan Service journalists who flew to Kyiv in the summer to escape Taliban repression. Vira was very worried about her parents, who lived for almost a month under Russian occupation in the Kyiv region without electricity, water, or gas. Vira dreamed of planting a cypress in the residential complex where she recently moved to Kyiv. Now we must do it.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was visiting Kyiv on April 28 as air strikes hit the capital, including the apartment block. Videos and pictures from the site showed the lower floors of the building heavily damaged. Cars in the area had their windows blown out. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who met with Guterres in Kyiv barely an hour earlier, has condemned the air strikes and called for a “corresponding powerful reaction.”
Hyrych, born in 1967, began working for RFE/RL in February 2018. Before joining RFE/RL, she worked at a leading television channel in Ukraine. Hyrych is survived by her parents and an adult son.
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty is a private, independent international news organization whose programs — radio, Internet, television, and mobile — reach influential audiences in 23 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus. It is funded by the U.S. Congress through USAGM.
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Deputy Director of Media and Public Affairs, Washington, DC