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CNN anchor breaks down talking to Ukrainian father whose family was killed

AP/Efrem Lukatsky, file

CNN anchor Erin Burnett broke down in tears during a Wednesday interview with a father whose family was killed last week in Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

Serhiy Perebyinis joined Burnett on-air to discuss the death of his family, which he learned about through social media. A photo of Perebyinis’ wife, son and daughter sprawled on the street after being struck by a mortar has become a defining image after being published in the New York Times last week.

Perebyinis said he learned of his family’s passing after suspecting something was wrong when the location of the cell phone belonging to his wife, Tatiana Perebyinis, changed to a hospital outside of Irpin. He then saw on Twitter that there was fatal shelling in the area.

“I saw a photo on Twitter and I recognized my children,” Perebyinis told Burnett through a translator.

After realizing his children had died during the shelling, Perebyinis sought help from friends to locate his wife, who he soon learned had also passed as a result of the attack.

“Serhiy, as a parent, any person around the world can’t imagine your unbearable loss. Above all, losing your children…,” Burnett said, taking a moment to collect herself.

Fighting back tears, she added, “Can you tell me about them?” 

Perebyinis explained that his nine-year-old daughter was an artistic girl who took pleasure in dancing and painting, and his 18-year-old son was studying programming at university.

“They were normal, cheerful children,” he said.

Perebyinis and his wife, who stayed behind to help care for her mother, were together for decades, he added. He returned to Irpin from Eastern Ukraine with the help of Tatianna’s employer, U.S.-based tech company SE Ranking, days after the death of his family to give them a proper burial, CBS News reported.

The Perebyinis family is among the many civilian casualties that have occurred since Russian forces invaded Ukraine three weeks ago. As of Sunday, at least 85 children have died in the war, according to the office of Ukraine’s attorney general.

President Biden on Wednesday once again condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attacks on Ukrainian civilians, calling him a “war criminal.”

Tags CNN Erin Burnett Joe Biden Russia Serhiy Perebyinis Ukraine ukrainian invasion Vladimir Putin

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