After learning that her husband, a Ukrainian border patrol officer, had been shot by a Russian sniper, the contractions began.
Viktoria Nazarenko (34), gave birth to twins the day after.
Joy was overwhelmed by grief over the death of Sergeant Bogdan Nazaenko, their father.
The young widow, whose eyes were ablaze with tears, said that “it’s all I have left of him – my children and my memories, which will never go away.”
The couple had to wait eight years before they became pregnant.
He did nothing wrong. He never got to see his children. Viktoria stated that he didn’t even take his babies in his arms.
Bogdan, 35, was killed while serving with the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine (Northern Chernihiv Region), as Russia’s war raged.
Friends and family tried to protect Viktoria, despite her being pregnant, from the negative effects of the news.
She found out about it only three weeks later.
Her husband was already buried by that time.
Viktoria stated, “I learned the news on March 3rd and gave birth on April 4th – at night the labors began.” At the time, she was 35 weeks pregnant.
Matviy, who weighed in at 6.2 lbs, was the first to be born. Zakhariy followed, weighing in at 5.7 lbs.
Viktoria spoke to Sky News on Friday, sat on a bed beside a cot where her babies were asleep. They weren’t yet four weeks old.
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For now, she lives with her parents in a tiny apartment in Nizhyn. Her father and mother do everything they can to support her.
Bogdan, along with other members of Ukraine’s border guard and armed force, has been protecting his country against Russian invasions since the beginning on 24 February.
His wife was pregnant and he would frequently call her by phone, but it would usually only last a few seconds due to poor connections.
Their last call on the day before his death lasted more than 10 minutes. Bogdan informed his wife that he was on a mission and would need to shut off his phone. This is a routine.
He tried to persuade her to leave Chernihiv in the north, where they had lived.
Viktoria was hiding in the basement at a nursery since days before Russian soldiers invaded the city. They tried to encircle the city and bombard the surrounding villages.
Viktoria recalled their conversation and said that Viktoria had told him he would feel calmer when he moved away.
“But we laughed because it’s usually me who gives the orders!” She said.
“In the last seconds, he tried saying more but the line was too bad …. I tried to call him immediately, but there was no connection.”
She waited for him, but he didn’t return his phone. Days passed and she still hadn’t heard from him.
The situation in Chernihiv deteriorated during that period. The bombardments even damaged the local maternity center.
Viktoria decided that her husband was right and she fled Chernihiv City, moving in with her parents.
She tried to find information about Bogdan. He was shot by a sniper before she finally learned the worst.
She said, “It’s an enormous wound for our lives,” and then she broke down in tears again, holding a tissue to her eye.
“The big question is: How? “How can a human do this to another human?”
She pulled out a folder and showed Bogdan’s dog tag, two necklaces (including a cross) that he was wearing at the time he was killed.
Viktoria also shared their wedding albums and talked about how happy Bogdan was to finally become a father.
She said, “When I found out that I was pregnant, it was incredible happiness.”
“We felt like flying, but we weren’t walking. Our happiness doubled when we discovered it was twins. He spoke to the babies daily. He talked to me every day, even though I told him they couldn’t hear.
“There was a pregnancy planner on my phone, and we would read every Monday about how the babies were developing, what they were hearing, and how their eyes and ears were shaping. He was eagerly awaiting the babies.
She was overwhelmed by grief again and found it difficult to complete her sentences.
She claimed that the twins gave them the strength she needed to persevere in the dark.
“The babies remind us that we must continue to live.” Viktoria stated, “Mum, we can only live if you give us your attention.”
“That’s why I have my babies. They are my power. They are my rock.
“But I don’t have any of my own support because Bogdan was my support, my body armor – my everything.”
She leaned over the cot and wrapped a blanket around both sleeping bags. Mummy is here, my wonderful boys.