Ukrainian writer Victoria Amelina dies from injuries sustained in Russian shelling in Kramatorsk | International

Rate this post

Ukrainian writer Victoria Amelina, 37, is the 13th victim of the Russian bombing last Tuesday in Kramatorsk (eastern Donetsk region), Pen Ukraine, an organization that defends authors' rights, announced on Sunday night and the freedom of expression to which she belonged. The author, who joined the list of more than 60 wounded, succumbed late on Saturday to head injuries that she suffered as a result of a missile impact on the popular Ria restaurant. Among the deceased there are three minors, two were 14-year-old twins. One day before the death of the novelist, the Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, paid tribute to her during her third visit to kyiv. "We need women like her to write history," Sánchez said on Saturday during a speech before the Ukrainian Parliament.

"With our greatest sorrow, we inform you that the Ukrainian writer Victoria Amelina passed away on July 1 at the Mechnikov Hospital in Dnipro," the statement said. "We are announcing this news now, when all members of Victoria's family have found out about her and with her consent," she adds to explain the time between her passing and her announcement.

Amelina was the author of children's books and two novels, but in the shadow of the great Russian invasion launched in February 2022, she left fiction behind and focused on the investigation of war crimes. Among her recognitions are prizes such as the Joseph Conrad or having been a finalist for the European Union Prize for Literature. In Spain she has just translated her novel A home for Dom (Watcher).

The writer's presence in Kramatorsk was almost accidental. She had embarked at the last minute on a trip with the Colombians Héctor Abad Faciolince, writer; Sergio Jaramillo, former peace commissioner in that country, and reporter Catalina Gómez. They had left kyiv first for the Kharkov region and then for the Donetsk region. In Kharkov they had the opportunity to learn about the case of the local writer Volodimir Vakulenko. During the Russian occupation last year, Vakulenko decided to bury his diaries in the garden of his house in the village of Kapitolivka, near the town of Izium. Shortly after, he was killed by the invaders and his body was transferred to a common grave. Amelina discovered his manuscripts and brought to light what happened, another atrocity committed by the Russians in Ukraine.

The writer met Abad and Jaramillo during the weekend before the Kramatorsk bombing at an event at the kyiv book fair. Both had come to present the campaign Hold Ukraine in solidarity of Latin America with the population of Ukraine. For this reason, almost on the fly, she decided to accompany them along with Gómez, also with solid experience during the armed conflict in that area of ​​the country.

He Amelina's last tweet dates from the same Tuesday of the attack. In it, Abad is photographed holding the Ukrainian edition of his famous book The oblivion that we will be, in which he reflects on the 1987 murder of his father, a well-known doctor, professor and human rights activist. The image, in which she is hugging a bookseller named Yulia, was taken in Kapitolivka, a place that Victoria Amelina wanted the Colombian delegation to visit. "It's like a solidarity hug from Latin America to Ukraine," wrote the novelist along with the slogan Hold on Ukraine.

Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.


During a conversation with EL PAÍS, Abad himself recalled the symbolic interview he had with Amelina in the garden of Vakulenko's house. “This was a testimonial journey and, suddenly, it has become a tragic journey in which our colleague Victoria Amelina is between life and death. And we, sad and dismayed, return to where we can… To where everything seems perfect”, lamented the Colombian writer and journalist. The explosion broke a moment of laughter in which the group, sitting at a table in the restaurant, joked about curfew time and the dry law that prevents drinking alcohol. "I don't know if I'm going to see Victoria's face again between those beer laughs," Abad mused in pain. Hours later, he still couldn't understand: "Why we were fine and she wasn't." Beyond the bruises, none of the group, including Dima, the driver, suffered injuries, except for Amelina.

“On June 27, 2023, Russia committed another war crime by sending an Iskander missile with a high-explosive warhead into the Ria restaurant” and “among the people seriously injured in this crime is our dear colleague Victoria Amelina: a brilliant Ukrainian writer and award-winning and world-renowned human rights activist," denounced the organizations PEN Ukraine and Truth Hounds, which investigates war crimes, three days after the attack. Amelina was part of both.

Ukrainian novelist Victoria Amelina. on June 19 in Lviv.Victoria Amelina (Victoria Amelina EFE)

“This is a roulette wheel in which one falls a splinter and others do not. It is horrible to be like this, to have to live in a world in which these things happen, but you have to bear witness and oppose them," Hector Abad defended as he drove away from the "hell" of Donetsk, while the doctors treated to save Amelina's life. The writer was transferred on Wednesday by ambulance from hospital number three in Kramatorsk to a better equipped one in the city of Dnipro. She was in a coma until her death.

“I do not believe that law and human rights are fields reserved for people with titles. The law deals with human beings ultimately, or at least it should have people at the center; that is what makes law resemble literature, ”he explained to the newspaper in April Kyiv Independent. And following in the wake of that way of thinking, the following month, Amelina joined the trip in which Abad and Jaramillo wanted to get closer to those victims who were the object of their solidarity campaign.

The Ria restaurant, as this special envoy was able to verify four days before the bombing, is a very popular place frequented by journalists, humanitarian workers, volunteers from different organizations and the military. It is in no way an army infrastructure, as Russia claimed to justify the attack.

Kramatorsk had already been the scene of a brutal Russian attack on April 8 last year against civilians who were being evacuated from the train station to other, more secure regions of the country. The fatalities amounted to 59.

The Ukrainian authorities announced this past Wednesday the arrest of a resident of the city whom they consider a pro-Russian agent. They claim that the same day of the bombing, he recorded a video of the Ria restaurant and its surroundings before sending it to the Russian authorities. "Anyone who helps Russian terrorists destroy lives deserves the greatest punishment," Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky said.

This is the panorama that Victoria Amelina left painted on June 24: “At night I watched the fireballs in the sky from my balcony in kyiv and listened to the explosions. I went to sleep without checking the news. War is when you can no longer follow all the news and grieve for all the neighbors who died in your place within a couple of miles. Still, I don't want to forget to learn the names."

Follow all the international information on Facebook and Twitteror in our weekly newsletter.

Subscribe to continue reading

Read without limits

Author Profile

Nathan Rivera
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Nathan Rivera, a dedicated journalist who has had the privilege of writing for the online newspaper Today90. My journey in the world of journalism has been a testament to the power of dedication, integrity, and passion.

My story began with a relentless thirst for knowledge and an innate curiosity about the events shaping our world. I graduated with honors in Investigative Journalism from a renowned university, laying the foundation for what would become a fulfilling career in the field.

What sets me apart is my unwavering commitment to uncovering the truth. I refuse to settle for superficial answers or preconceived narratives. Instead, I constantly challenge the status quo, delving deep into complex issues to reveal the reality beneath the surface. My dedication to investigative journalism has uncovered numerous scandals and shed light on issues others might prefer to ignore.

I am also a staunch advocate for press freedom. I have tirelessly fought to protect the rights of journalists and have faced significant challenges in my quest to inform the public truthfully and without constraints. My courage in defending these principles serves as an example to all who believe in the power of journalism to change the world.

Throughout my career, I have been honored with numerous awards and recognitions for my outstanding work in journalism. My investigations have changed policies, exposed corruption, and given a voice to those who had none. My commitment to truth and justice makes me a beacon of hope in a world where misinformation often prevails.

At Today90, I continue to be a driving force behind journalistic excellence. My tireless dedication to fair and accurate reporting is an invaluable asset to the editorial team. My biography is a living testament to the importance of journalism in our society and a reminder that a dedicated journalist can make a difference in the world.