A heart-wrenching video shows a Ukrainian musician playing one last song on her piano to say farewell to her home after it was wrecked by a Russian bomb.
Mum-of-two Irina Maniukina briefly ‘forgot the worries of war’ when she brushed away the ashes on her grand piano hours after a missile dropped on her street.
The strike left her home in Bila Tserkva, south of Kyiv, in ruins with doors and glass strewn across the floor.
Irina, who has been forced the flee the place where she grew up, took a minute to uncover her miraculously undamaged piano and play among the rubble and bombed-out windows.
A video shot by her daughter Karina shows the professional pianist dust debris from the keys and begin playing a beautiful series of songs – in scenes reminiscent of war film The Pianist.
At one point, she stops to take a deep breath to gain her composure before defiantly continuing.
Irina’s daughter said her music graduate mum took the moment to ‘forget about the war and worries for her family’s safety’.
She said it helped remind them both of happier times before Russia’s invasion.
‘She started playing not only to relax, but to collect her thoughts and say goodbye to the house, and also to remember the good moments that were in our house,’ Karina said.
The 23-year-old shared the footage on TikTok alongside the caption: ‘Do not judge, my mother is a professional pianist and decided to play to let go of this case.’
The video has now been viewed more than 1.6million times with users left in tears at the emotional scene and others claiming it shows ‘amid the rubble there’s still so much beauty’.
Karina said: ‘It wasn’t a sad moment. My mother just wanted to let go of unnecessary thoughts, and I remembered events in our house with a smile.
‘She wanted to forget about the war and her worries for our safety. She’s been playing all her life and she even graduated as a pianist.
‘Since there was a lot of ash and dust in the keys and everyone was in a state of shock, she could not play for a long time.
‘After the video we called our friends and began to clean the house from glass and damaged furniture, and took out all the things that were left.’
Karina said the bomb dropped around 10 metres from her house, causing a huge crater in the ground of her street and many of her neighbours roofs to cave in.
She said she hadn’t heard any planes leading up to the incident and all she saw was the ‘orange and black’ cloud from the blast.
Karina said: ‘I stood in the kitchen and had made pancakes and suddenly I saw an orange and black cloud to my right. Until that moment, I had not heard any aircraft or a bomb flying.
‘After the explosion, everything was smashed and in ashes. I looked around the house and saw that a fire was starting in my brother’s room.
‘I had already called my mother and they rushed as quickly as possible. They couldn’t drive straight to the house. Since the wires just lay on the road.
‘They ran into the house and all together ran to put out the fire. After that, everyone breathed a sigh of relief, and my mother decided to gather her thoughts and sit down at the piano.’
The family have had to travel 300 miles away to stay with friends in Lviv, western Ukraine. They’re currently looking for an apartment to stay in but Karina said ‘they are all occupied’.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two weeks ago, music has played an important role in expressing solidarity and resolve.
On Wednesday, Kyiv’s central square was brought to life by the Classic Symphony Orchestra defiantly playing the national anthem.
They also played an excerpt from Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’, on which the European Union’s anthem is based – a nod to the Ukraine government’s desire to move closer to Europe and away from Russia’s orbit.
A smaller band of musicians made up of Ukrainian soldiers gathered to play in Odessa, a southern port city which could soon be the scene of an amphibious assault by Russia.
Another moving video shows a young boy playing the piano in a hotel lobby of Kharkiv, which is occupied by Russian forces.
Russia-Ukraine war: Everything you need to know
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, the country has suffered widespread damages and loss of life amid a major bombing campaign.
Over two million Ukrainian refugees have fled, as cities face shortages of food, water, heat, and medicine – with the British public set to be asked to open their homes to Ukrainian refugees.
Countries have retaliated by imposing sanctions on Russia and oligarchs such as Roman Abramovich, while large companies like Disney, Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Coca-Cola have suspended business in the country.
However, despite these economic blows, Russian President Vladimir Putin hasn’t shown any signs of calling off the attack anytime soon, with attacks targeting radioactive labs.
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