DAWN OF WORK – The village was in prosperity when Julia Loseva buried her husband in the village cemetery near her house. Kneeling in the grass, she bowed her head over the open coffin and kissed him one last time in farewell before they lowered him to the grave.

There was a military band and a salute of six guns. His teenage sons, pale and stunned, followed his father’s coffin, holding pictures of him in camouflage uniform.

But it was not a military burial of a career soldier. Vladimir Losev’s raid into the army was both sudden and short.

Just over three months ago, the 38-year-old was just a civilian, driving trucks and driving cranes, working to take care of his family in a small village near the port city of Odessa in southwestern Ukraine.

Then came the war, and everything changed.

“He was never in the army, but he enlisted on the first day of the war,” Losev’s brother-in-law Viktor Chesolin said after the funeral.

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Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Like many other Ukrainians, Losev decided he wanted to help defend his country. He had no previous military experience. But he knew how to shoot with an air rifle, and he had special driving skills through his work, Chesalin said.

Therefore, when a letter from the army conscription arrived in February, Losev appeared and asked to be enrolled. Experienced drivers were in demand, and the army accepted his offer.

He left his wife and sons – 13-year-old Gregory and 15-year-old Denis – at home and headed to Western Ukraine for two to three weeks of training. He turned out to be a good shooter, and the army made him a sniper, – said Chesolin.

He soon found himself at the forefront in eastern Ukraine, fighting Russian forces. His family knew little about his whereabouts – he did not discuss the place.

Then a terrible bell rang. One of Losev’s comrades-in-arms, a friend, called Yulia. Her husband died.

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Losev died on May 7 near the city of Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, his family said. A mine on the road went off when a military vehicle he was driving hit it, injuring other soldiers in the car and killing Losev, Chesolin said. As far as they know, he died at the scene.

The fighting in the area was fierce and the removal of his body was difficult. It took days for the army to pull him out and bring him home.

On May 16, Julia, her nails painted alternately in the blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag, waited near their house until a funeral van with his coffin arrived. Mourning mourned in the street, kneeling in respect as a van passed by.

She grabbed her son by the arms as the funeral procession moved to a small cemetery on the outskirts of the village, where national flags fluttered in the wind.

The tomb was open and waiting, the group standing aside. Leaving the mourners behind, his wife walked ahead with the coffin and asked the coffin to put it on the grass.

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She dropped to her knees, torn sobs erupting in excruciating breaths. The last time she stroked his chest and leaned over him. The last few moments she could be left alone with her husband, a man who so quickly went from civilian to soldier and then disappeared.

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