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Father and partner of Israeli killed in Ukraine dispute his burial place amid danger

During emotional phone call, Roman Brodsky’s parents ask his partner to help bring his body to Israel, but she says there is too much violence in the area to travel

The father of Roman Brodsky, an Israeli killed in Ukraine, at left, discusses his burial arrangements during a phone call with his son's partner in Ukraine. A Magen David Adom paramedic, right, helped facilitate the call. (Screenshot/Channel 12)
The father of Roman Brodsky, an Israeli killed in Ukraine, at left, discusses his burial arrangements during a phone call with his son's partner in Ukraine. A Magen David Adom paramedic, right, helped facilitate the call. (Screenshot/Channel 12)

Efforts to retrieve the body of an Israeli man killed in Ukraine and bring him back to Israel for burial have run into difficulties, a Monday report said.

Roman Brodsky was shot dead as a convoy he was traveling in outside of Kyiv came under fire. He was apparently mistakenly killed by Ukrainian troops.

His father and his partner were unable to come to terms on repatriating his body due to the dangerous situation, Channel 12 reported.

Brodsky’s father, Yafim, wants to bury his son in Israel, but Brodsky’s partner, Mila, is afraid to travel.

In a phone call between Yafim and Mila facilitated by the Magen David Adom rescue service, Yafim asked Mila to bring Brodsky’s body to the Ukrainian city of Zhytomyr.

Magen David Adom offered to help transport Brodsky’s remains.

Roman Brodsky, an Israeli-Ukrainian who was killed in Ukraine on February 28, 2022. (Courtesy)

Mila told Brodsky’s father that there was too much violence in the area, and she didn’t know if moving the body was possible.

“We can’t travel because of the bombings,” she said, sounding distressed.

“I don’t know if I can get out of here alive or manage to bring him there. They are shooting like crazy,” she said, according to Channel 12, which broadcast parts of the call.

She also chafed at his suggestion that Roman’s body be brought to Israel for burial, even after Brodsky’s parents offered to take her into their Ashdod home.

“Mila, we want to bury him in Israel, so we need to bring him here, and you can come to us,” he said.

“I’m not going anywhere. I want to suggest he [be buried] here,” she said.

She agreed to call him again to discuss the matter “if I get out of here alive.”

The Foreign Ministry, which usually aids in repatriating remains, said earlier it had informed the family of Brodsky’s death.

Brodsky was a father of two and a DJ who had been living in Ukraine with his family.

Brodsky was the first Israeli citizen reported killed in the Russian onslaught against Ukraine, which Moscow launched last Thursday.

The Foreign Ministry said Brodsky was part of a convoy of vehicles traveling to the Moldovan border to leave the country. He and his partner were intending to then fly to Israel.

According to Brodsky’s father, his son was shot dead at a checkpoint.

“[The Ukrainian soldiers] thought he was Chechen or something and killed him,” his father told the Kan broadcaster.

Despite Ukrainian soldiers shooting Brodsky, his family told Channel 12 that they blame the “dictator” Vladimir Putin for his death. His father told the station that they want help bringing him for burial in Israel, and asked that Israel do more to ensure that people who are still alive can make it safely to the Jewish state.

Brodsky came to Israel at age 13 with his family. He lived in the country for around 27 years and had two small children. He returned to Ukraine about 2 years ago to start a business in Kyiv.

The Zaka rescue service gave his age as 37, though some Israeli news outlets identified him as 41 or 42 years old.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett sent condolences to the family on Monday evening.

“In the name of all Israeli citizens, I want to send my condolences to Roman’s wife, children and family in Israel and in Ukraine. We are doing everything to help Israelis return home,” Bennett said.

The Foreign Ministry said it had informed his wife and child who were still in Ukraine, as well as his parents in Israel. His mother collapsed upon hearing the news and was taken to Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center for care.

Brodsky’s father and stepmother live in the southern city of Arad, while his mother lives in Ashkelon.

According to the Ukrainian interior ministry, as of Monday, 352 civilians have been killed, 14 of them children, in the Russian offensive, and 1,684 people have been injured, 116 of them minors.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry estimated that several thousand Israeli citizens were still in Ukraine, though many had started making their way to the country’s borders, where Israeli embassy employees were working to get them on flights back to Israel.

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