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Remembering Vira Hyrych

The memorial service for RFE/RL journalist and producer Vira Hyrych took place at St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral in Kyiv on May 3, 2022 – World Press Freedom Day.

Remarks prepared by RFE/RL President Jamie Fly to honor the memory of Ukrainian Service producer Vira Hyrych, who was killed in a Russian missile strike on Kyiv on April 28, 2022.

It is unthinkable that we must say goodbye to Vira. First and foremost, everyone at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty extends our deepest condolences to Vira’s family – to her son Bohdan and to her parents.

Vira’s loss is acutely felt by all who knew her. Friends and colleagues at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty will always remember her kindness and generosity of spirit. Many have shared their memories of her, describing her as intelligent, tactful, modest, sensitive, and bright with a big heart.

Vira really was at the heart of the Ukrainian Service. One colleague described her as “the best person” in the editorial office, a second as a woman of superhuman endurance – both physical and psychological, another spoke of her as always ready to help.

Our reporting on this senseless, unjust war, which took Vira’s life, would not have been possible without her. Vira coordinated assignments for all of our field correspondents throughout the war and was key to the remarkable frontline reporting that RFE/RL has done for audiences in Ukraine but reporting that is reaching Russians and others across the world on a daily basis.

Every day she helped coordinate where our correspondents were and what they were working on. To quote our editor in chief - Vira is literally behind each and every one of our reports and stories about the war.

The last video Vira produced told the story of an 87-year-old holocaust survivor and her 94-year-old Russian husband, a retired navy officer, who were evacuated from Mariupol to Kyiv. It has just been published.

Her spirit will live on as future generations view reports like this one to document this time. We at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty will channel the sadness and anger we feel now into carrying on Vira’s legacy. She will not be forgotten, and her memory will continue to inspire our work for years to come. Her name and story will be added to our memorial wall dedicated to RFE/RL’s fallen journalists in our headquarters in Prague.

To Vira’s family – I hope that you will find some solace in the outpouring of love for Vira from colleagues and friends – here in her beloved Ukraine and around the world. It is a testament to the high regard in which she, and the work she was so devoted to, was held. Vira will always be an integral part of the RFE/RL family.

[This remembrance is also posted in the Ukrainian language on the Ukrainian Service's website.]