A bombed-out city in Ukraine
A bombed-out city in Ukraineצילום: Shutterstock

CNN anchor Erin Burnett found herself in tears while interviewing Serhiy Perebyinis, a Ukrainian man who discovered his wife and children had been killed when he saw a photo of their bodies in a story that had been published in the New York Times.

Burnett asked Perebyinis if he had had time to properly lay his loved ones to rest. Perebyinis confirmed that he had, despite having been on the front lines.

“Serhiy, as a parent, any person around the world can’t imagine your unbearable loss, above all losing your children," she told him. "Could you tell me about them?" She asked through tears.

“We used to see each other with my wife on Google Maps, and that morning I noticed that there was a unusual geolocation between Kyiv and their ping and then, 20 minutes later, her phone moved to another location, to a hospital in Kyiv and I suspected something was wrong,” said Perebyinis.

“And I asked friends to come to the hospital and find out whether there were any bad news, and then Twitter, there was news on Twitter…there was mortar shelling and that a family died: two children, their mother and their father. And then I saw a photo on Twitter and I recognized my children. I recognized their things and their clothes. And I called my friends to say, ‘The children are dead. Their bodies are lying on pavement,’ and I asked them, ‘Please could you help me to find my wife.’ “

“They were normal children,” he said, when asked for a specific memory of the departed. “My son was older. He was 18 and he was in second year of university. He wanted to become an IT professional. Started programming. And my daughter was nine years old and she liked dancing, painting. She studied English. They were normal, cheerful children.”

As part of the segment, CNN reported that 103 children are known to have been killed in the war thus far, according to Ukrainian officials, though the real toll is likely much higher.