Russian soldiers shot dead a mother of two as she drove her family to safety
In the early morning of March 1, 2022, Svitlana Zhulina was driving her family away from war-torn Kyiv Oblast. Her husband, Andriy Vilson, was sitting next to her, their two sons of eight and 10 in the back seat. They were driving along Zhytomyr Highway. Suddenly, Vilson heard a loud explosion and his wife’s head fell against him. A sniper’s bullet had hit her. He stopped the car trying to save his children. The doors were blocked, so he got out through the window and started taking his kids out of the car. “I took Artem first,” Vilson said of his older son, “and they shot me in the right leg. I hid Artem behind the car so they could not reach him.” Vilson then returned for Myroslav, his youngest. As he was hiding the wounded Myroslav, the Russian soldiers shot his left leg. He fell. Vilson and his two sons were lying on the ground next to their car. The Russians kept shooting. He then saw a Russian military column moving towards them and told his kids to play dead. When the Russian tanks passed them, the Russian soldiers started a “mopping-up” operation. There was no point in playing dead anymore. Russian soldiers checked Vilson phone and then allowed him to call his wife’s parents so that they could come and pick them up. The soldiers promised they wouldn’t touch them. When his parents-in-law arrived, Vilson was falling unconscious due to serious blood loss, and the Russians helped put him into their car. They did not let them take his wife’s body. Later that day, Zhulina’s parents returned to pick up their daughter’s body anyway. At present Vilson and his son are recovering from surgery.