A pregnant woman and her husband killed in Kyiv by what Ukrainian officials said was a Russian “kamikaze” drone strike were inseparable, like “yin and yang,” their close friend has told CNN.
“These people loved life,” Anna Petrukova said of Victoria Zamchenko and her husband Bohdan, both 34, who she described as a “wonderful couple.”
“They had a lot of plans – they dreamed of their own home, children, a full-fledged family, travel. They had very big plans for this life,” Petrukova said.
The Zamchenkos died at home in their apartment in Kyiv on Monday, following a barrage of strikes by Russian-launched, Iranian-made “kamikaze” drones, according to Ukrainian officials.
Victoria Zamchenko was six months pregnant with the couple’s first child.
Drones have played a significant role in the conflict since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in late February, but their use has increased since Moscow acquired new drones from Iran over the summer.
Unlike more traditional, larger and faster military drones that return to base after dropping missiles, “kamikaze” drones are designed to crash into a target and explode, detonating their warhead and destroying the drones in the process.
The Ukrainian military and US intelligence say Russia is using Iranian-made attack drones. US officials told CNN in July that Iran had begun showcasing Shahed series drones to Russia at Kashan Airfield south of Tehran the previous month.
In August, US officials said Russia had bought these drones and was training its forces how to use them. According to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, Russia has ordered 2,400 Shahed-136 drones from Iran.
‘Yin and yang’
The Zamchenkos were among at least five people killed in the Russian drone attacks on Kyiv Monday, which sent shock waves through the Ukrainian capital, damaging residential buildings and burying civilians under rubble. At least three people died in separate strikes on Tuesday.
Petrukova, who was in phone contact with Victoria Zamchenko just minutes before her death, said the first drone strikes Monday had trapped the couple in their apartment.
“They could no longer leave the house because there was an incoming hit at the [thermal power plant] right opposite,” Petrukova recalled. “So they were sitting in the corridor.”
“The last message from her was at 8:18 a.m. [when] she heard two more incoming hits. After that, obviously, there was a fifth one. And the connection with her was lost.”
Petrukova added that the couple had been considering leaving the city, after the windows of their apartment were blown out in an attack last week.
Victoria Zamchenko had returned to Kyiv in August from her home city of Rinve in western Ukraine. She had missed her work as a sommelier at a local wine shop, Petrukova said.
“She was cheerful, highly intelligent, soulful, funny, deep kind of person,” Petrukova said of her friend. “We always had something to talk about and something to be silent about.”
Together since their university days, the Zamchenkos were “inseparable,” like “yin and yang,” Petrukova said.
“It is impossible to imagine them separately. They always held hands, always hugged. There was a lot of tenderness and warmth between them. It was always a pleasure to be around them. They were fun people.”
CNN’s Ivana Kottasová contributred reporting.