WARNING – GRAPHIC CONTENT: A father and husband has made the heartbreaking discovery that his wife and two children were killed in Russian gunfire via a photo posted on Twitter.
The shocking photo showed the lifeless bodies of Tatiana Perebyinis, 43, and her kids Mykyta, 18 and Alisa, nine, strewn across the pavement after being deliberately targeted by Russian forces while trying to escape the town of Irpin through an evacuation corridor into Kyiv on Sunday.
It was first believed Serhiy Perebyinis, also 43, was wounded in the same attack, but Mr Perebyinis was with his ailing mother in eastern Ukraine at the time and learned of his family's death on Twitter, the New York Times revealed.
The grieving family man has shared pictures of his wife and two children on Facebook alongside an emotional tribute asking for forgiveness.
"Forgive me, I didn’t cover you. He took them all," he wrote. "What is this all for? What’s next?
"I’m on my way, I must see you one last time."
'I recognised the luggage and that is how I knew'
Before being killed, Mrs Perebyinis had been hiding out in her family's basement with the kids and her parents waiting for a chance to escape. Her mother had reportedly been sick preventing them from leaving sooner.
When the attacks worsened, Mrs Perebyinis decided to flee the area with her family but was initially dissuaded after noticing a tank roll down the street, according to reports.
The family eventually jumped in a minivan and drove as far as they could, Mr Perebyinis told the New York Times, but they were forced to evacuate and travel across the damaged Irpin bridge by foot where they were brutally killed.
Mr Perebyinis had reportedly been tracking their location on his phone but became concerned when no one was taking his calls. He not long after saw the distressing scene on Twitter.
"I recognised the luggage and that is how I knew," he said. The blood-stained suitcases and backpacks were pictured next to their bodies.
Mrs Perebyinis' parents were reportedly behind their daughter and grandkids and were not harmed in the attack.
Ukrainian President responds: 'We will punish everyone'
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the brutal attacks on Sunday, vowing to "punish everyone who committed atrocities in this war".
"We will find every b*****d which shot at our cities, our people. Which bombed our land. Which launched rockets. Which gave the order and pressed ‘start’," he said.
"There will be no quiet place on this Earth for you. Except for the grave."
Tributes flow for Mrs Perebyinis: 'Bright, witty, determined'
The doting mum was said to be "adored" by colleagues at SE Ranking, a tech firm with an office in Silicon Valley, where she worked as a chief accountant.
The small IT start-up was reportedly "devastated" by her death and in a statement said, "there are no words to describe our grief or to mend our pain".
"Her family became the victim of the unprovoked fire on civilians, which under any law is a crime against humanity," they said.
"The Russian army are criminals, and they should be stopped. Our hearts are broken. Our prayers are for all Ukrainians, who are fighting for their right to exist."
Others said she "made people smile whenever she spoke", according to the Independent, saying she was "bright, witty, determined" and "like a big sister" to the team.
More than half of the company's employees, as well as the CEO, live in Ukraine.
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