A 52-year-old aspiring makeup artist among the dead in the Ukrainian town of Bucha was identified when her unique manicure was recognized in a devastating image of the carnage.
Iryna Filkina’s left hand — emblazoned with a pink and purple heart on the nail of her ring finger — made headlines over the weekend when it was captured by a Reuters photographer, lifeless on the ground amid the chaos of Bucha.
The mother and heating station operator was apparently shot by Russian forces while riding her bicycle.
Anastasiia Subacheva, a makeup artist in nearby Gostomel, told the New York Times that she recognized the hand instantly.
“When I saw it, I felt physically like my heart started to break,” she said.
Subacheva, who has worked in and around Bucha for five years, told the paper that Filkina had reached out to her in February, seeking lessons.
Filkina wanted her help becoming fashionable, Subacheva recalled.
In their talks, Subacheva said Filkina told her: “I finally understood the most important thing: You need to love yourself and live for yourself. Finally I will live the way I want.”
In a grief-stricken post on Instagram, Olha Shchyruk, Filkina’s daughter, mourned her mother.
“Today is exactly a month, from the day my mother no longer writes to me: how is my mother’s mouse?” she wrote.
“And all I can do is cry,” she said. “she was shot in the middle of the street, less than 15 minutes away … a bullet the size of my finger.”
Shchyruk, who fled Bucha after the war began, told the newspaper she’d heard last month that her mother had been shot while riding her bicycle. But unable to reach anyone, she’d held out hope that Filkina was alive.
“I understand that it wasn’t possible, because she hadn’t been in touch for a month,” she told the paper. “But a child will always be waiting for her mother.”