WASHINGTON—RFE/RL mourns the death of Ukrainian Service journalist Vira Hyrych, who died in Kyiv after a Russian air strike hit the residential building where she lived in the Ukrainian capital.
Hyrych's body was found early in the morning on April 29 amid the wreckage of the building, which was hit by a Russian missile the night before, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service said.
"We are deeply saddened by the death of our Ukrainian Service staffer Vira Hyrych in Kyiv overnight. We have lost a dear colleague who will be remembered for her professionalism and dedication to our mission," said RFE/RL President Jamie Fly. "We are shocked and angered by the senseless nature of her death at home in a country and city she loved. Her memory will inspire our work in Ukraine and beyond for years to come," he added.
Said Ukrainian Service director Maryana Drach of her colleague, “It is very difficult to realize that Vira is not here, it takes your breath away. We met every morning to coordinate the work of our correspondents, review coverage, seek out exclusive angles on the news. Vira was not only a professional, but also a person with a good heart: she helped RFE/RL Afghan Service journalists who flew to Kyiv in the summer to escape Taliban repression. Vira was very worried about her parents, who lived for almost a month under Russian occupation in the Kyiv region without electricity, water, or gas. Vira dreamed of planting a cypress in the residential complex where she recently moved to Kyiv. Now we must do it.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was visiting Kyiv on April 28 as air strikes hit the capital, including the apartment block. Videos and pictures from the site showed the lower floors of the building heavily damaged. Cars in the area had their windows blown out. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who met with Guterres in Kyiv barely an hour earlier, has condemned the air strikes and called for a "corresponding powerful reaction."
Hyrych, born in 1967, began working for RFE/RL in February 2018. Before joining RFE/RL, she worked at a leading television channel in Ukraine. Hyrych is survived by her parents and an adult son.
About RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service
RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, with a monthly average of over 8 million visits and 11 million page views to its websites as well as nearly 600 million video views on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram in 2021, sets a standard in the Ukrainian media market for independence, professionalism, and innovation. Since the beginning of Russia’s war against Ukraine on February 24, Ukrainian Service videos have been viewed over 111 million times on YouTube alone. The service’s comprehensive coverage includes the award-winning reporting of its Donbas Realities and Crimea Realities websites and “Schemes” investigative reporting team.
RFE/RL relies on its networks of local reporters to provide accurate news and information to more than 37 million people every week in 27 languages and 23 countries where media freedom is restricted, or where a professional press has not fully developed. Its videos were viewed 7 billion times on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram/IGTV in FY2021. RFE/RL is an editorially independent media company funded by a grant from the U.S. Congress through the U.S. Agency for Global Media.