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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

She Was Investigating Russian War Crimes — Then One Killed Her

Writer and activist Victoria Amelina died from injuries sustained in a Russian missile strike on a restaurant in the eastern city of Kramatorsk. Her death is a cruel irony that reminds the world of both Moscow's objectives, and tactics.

She Was Investigating Russian War Crimes — Then One Killed Her

In Kramatorsk on June 28, after a Russian missile hit in the center of the city.

Celestino Arce Lavin/ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS — Victoria Amelina was 37. She was a poet, writer and essayist. Her books were translated abroad and she had won prestigious awards. She had it all. She was only five years old when Ukraine became independent, a freedom that allowed her to choose her own path in life.

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And then came Feb. 24, 2022. The Russian army invaded her country. Victoria Amelina’s life was turned upside down, like millions of other Ukrainians.

The young woman succumbed on Sunday to skull injuries sustained last week when a Russian missile strike hit a restaurant in Kramatorsk, in east Ukraine. She was the 13th victim of this bombing of a totally civilian target.

In Moscow, the Russian army claimed that two Ukrainian officers and “foreign mercenaries” had been killed in the targeting of a “military target”. Rarely has the discrepancy between propaganda and reality been so blatant.

Giving up everything for resistance

Victoria Amelina is symbolic of the way Ukrainian society has been reacting to the Russian invasion. A poet, she had become an investigator of war crimes committed by the occupying army. She meticulously documented each war crime in order, one day, to obtain justice and reparation.

This was one of her commitments, but not the only one. She took part in actions to support children in the war zone. She had also published the diary of Volodymyr Vekulenko, a writer arrested and murdered by Russian soldiers during the occupation of his town of Izium, since retaken by the Ukrainian army. The diary was buried in his garden and is an important testimony of life under Russian occupation.

She is like so many Ukrainians who gave everything up to contribute what they can to the resistance.

She had also gotten a scholarship from the Columbia University, and was due to spend some time on the university’s Paris campus this fall, with her 12-year old-son.

In Kramatorsk, the tireless Amelina was killed while she was accompanying a group of Colombian writers and journalists who had also come to share testimonies on the war. Although injured, their lives are not in danger.

The young woman is like so many Ukrainians from all walks of life who gave everything up to contribute what they can to the resistance.

Victoria Amelina was with a delegation of Colombian journalists and writers when a missile struck the Kramatorsk pizzeria where they were dining.

Ukraine Defense Ministry/Twitter

Victim of war crimes

Last week, French journalists were escorted to the front line by Ukrainian sergeant Andriy Onistrat. Before the war, the 49-year-old man was a banker, motorcycle champion and marathon runner. He enlisted as soon as Russian forces invaded his country, and asked to be sent to the 68th fighter brigade, on the front line.

Victoria Amelina left her comfortable life to take her share of risks for her country.

The reason? His 19-year-old son, Ostap, was in this unit. For two months, father and son served together: “It was the best two months of my life. I saw him become brave, fierce,” he told Remy Ourdan, correspondent for Le Mondedaily. But on June 2, Ostap was targeted by Russian fire and died.

“I wanted to protect him, save him and he wanted to be a hero," the father recalled, breaking down in tears. "He won. That’s all.”

Like Andriy Onistrat, Victoria Amelina left her comfortable life to take her share of risks for her country. She investigated war crimes, and ultimately, she became the victim of one.

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How Parenthood Reinvented My Sex Life — Confessions Of A Swinging Mom

Between breastfeeding, playdates, postpartum fatigue, birthday fatigues and the countless other aspects of mother- and fatherhood, a Cuban couple tries to find new ways to explore something that is often lost in the middle of the parenting storm: sex.

red tinted photo of feet on a bed

Parenting v. intimacy, a delicate balance

Silvana Heredia

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I remember those months as the most fun, crazy and experimental of my pre-motherhood life. It was the time of my first kiss with a girl, and our first threesome.

Every weekend, we went to the Cuban art factory and ended up at the CornerCafé until 7:00 a.m. That September morning, we were very drunk, and in that second-floor room of my house, it was unbearably hot. The sex was otherworldly. A few days later, the symptoms began.

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