AThere is still a basket of apples on the table, unwashed dishes in the sink, a pot on the stove. The wall against which the table and chairs stood is missing – it was torn away when a rocket hit a nine-story apartment block in Dnipro on Saturday. The yolk-yellow cabinets and green wall tiles are a luminous focal point in the rubble of the destroyed home. This contrast quickly made the brutally open view of a Ukrainian family’s kitchen a powerful image of how Russia’s war is destroying lives far away from the front lines.
A family of four lived in the apartment with the yellow kitchen until Saturday. The father was well known in Dnipro: Mychayolo Korenowskyj taught children and young people at the city’s sports academy, he had received awards for his work as a boxing coach and headed the regional team of the Dnipropetrovsk region. According to local media reports, he had just returned from a boxing match at the time of the attack, his wife Olga Korenovskaya was taking their two daughters for a walk, and he should have joined them a little later. But that didn’t happen anymore. Korenowskyj is one of at least 45 people killed in the attack. “Instead of my apartment, where I lived with my family for nine years, there was only this hole,” his wife later wrote on Instagram. A video that gives an insight into the family’s former life quickly spread on social networks. It shows one of the daughters blowing out the candles on a cake in the flamboyant kitchen on her fourth birthday.
The funeral service for the dead boxing trainer and family man took place on Tuesday in a gym at the Dnipro State Sports Academy. Video footage from local television shows dozens of young people in black hooded jackets saying goodbye to their coach. The coffin was in the middle of the gymnasium, laid out next to large flower arrangements. Some participants sit on the raised boxing ring with red carnations in their hands during the ceremony. “Misha Korenowskyj didn’t just leave, he was taken from us. He was brazenly and meanly taken by our enemies right from the apartment where he lived with his family, children and wife,” said Olexandr Bagatskyi, the director of the youth boxing school, at the funeral.
Social media helps with commemoration
There are countless expressions of condolence on social media from people who knew Korenowskyj, have met him at some point or are just touched by the pictures from his kitchen – the video from another time, which was only interesting for friends and family at the time, and the current images that his kitchen has opened to the eyes of the world. The posts on social media were further circulated by the Ukrainian media, which reported extensively on the fates of the Dnipro victims. 73 apartments were completely destroyed in the rocket impact, more than 230 were damaged. For days, the authorities had assured that the rescue work would continue as long as there was still a chance of rescuing someone alive. However, the fate of about twenty people was still unclear when the completion of the rescue and clean-up work was announced on Tuesday.