During a news briefing in Kyiv with relatives of soldiers who died or are still trapped in the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, CNN spoke with Nastya Bilousova, 21, whose boyfriend Dmytro Chornyi was killed by a sniper.
Bilousova said she was told that he died via an Instagram message, and she didn’t believe it at first. But three days later, she received official confirmation.
Bilousova said she and Chornyi, also 21, were together for four years and dreamed of going to the country of Georgia.
Even though she received the last text messages from him on March 1, she still texts him every day, telling him about her life and how she cannot accept his death.
Nicole, 21, who only provided CNN with her first name, attended the briefing with her 5-year-old nephew, Kirill, on her lap.
She, her nephew and her sister spent five days escaping from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia. She said they walked for two days and spent a night in a church to hide from shelling. They arrived in Zaporizhzhia on April 6.
Yesterday, she was told that her close friend Olexandr, who was fighting at Azovstal, had died. But she refuses to believe it.
“We were very good friends. He was a wonderful, kind man. He loved the guys he fought with. He often told me not to worry, that everything would be OK. Now I feel nothing,” she said.
She had been getting fewer and fewer messages from him. The last time they messaged was on May 8.
“I believe and hope this is a mistake, that he is alive,” she said.
On Thursday, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said that “very difficult negotiations” are ongoing on the evacuation of seriously wounded fighters from the Azovstal steel plant in exchange for Russian prisoners of war.