In the centre of the village of Lukashivka in the Chernihiv region stands the Church of the Ascension, destroyed during the fighting. In March last year, the occupiers brought a 23-year-old Ukrainian soldier, Vadym Nazarov, to be executed here. The unarmed man with his hands tied was shot in cold blood in front of a local teenager. Vadym Narazov had been fighting for Ukraine since he was 18 years old and gave his life for it.

The Slidstvo.Info journalists talked to Anastasiia, the wife of the murdered Vadym Nazarov, who told us about the Ukrainian defender. The video has English subtitles.


Vadym and Anastasiia met online in 2017 and kept in touch for a long time while he was in the army. After a while, the guy took a leave of absence and came to the girl’s place to meet her parents. And on New Year’s Eve, he proposed. The couple did not have a lavish wedding with a dress and a suit – they signed their wedding licence in 2018.  

Vadym and Anastasiia

“It was hard, of course, because of the long distance: he was there (in Donetsk region – ed.), and I was in Sumy Oblast. Especially when he was in the anti-terrorist operation zone, it was even harder because we didn’t know what to expect. He said: “At any moment, I may be gone. You have to be ready for that,” Anastasiia recalls.

The young woman believed that everything would be fine.


Vadym Nazarov went to war as soon as he turned 18 in 2016. It was his first contract with the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

“He said: “I can’t sit at home and watch what’s happening in the country, when young guys, my friends, are dying. I can’t just sit there and watch what’s happening. I have to help my country,” recalls Anastasiia Nazarova, the wife of the deceased.

Vadym joined the 30th Separate Mechanised Brigade and fought in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) and the Joint Forces Operation (JFO), which lasted from 2018 to 2022, until 2019. The guy visited all the hotspots at that time — Maryinka, Volnovakha, Soledar.

“It was mentally hard for him. When he arrived, it was hard for him to adapt. He had various nightmares, he could wake up, sometimes he was twitchy when he slept, but he didn’t say anything. He said: “I’m sorry, but the topic of war is better left where I was. I don’t want to hurt you or anyone else, but it’s scary there,” Anastasiia recalls.

Despite his fear, Vadym Nazarov continued to serve until the end. 

“He said: “I can’t do otherwise. Our country needs us. Who else will defend our country, who will help our children, our mothers, if not us,” Vadym’s wife recounts.

Vadym Nazarov

In 2020, a child was born to the Nazarov family. The couple had been choosing a name for a long time and decided on Rostyslav. According to them, it was the name that best suited his patronymic.

Vadym returned to the service in 2021, when his son was less than a year old. This time, he joined the 58th Brigade in Sumy Oblast to be closer to his family.

“I’m not going to sit around,” he said. I signed it myself, came and said: “I want to serve,” says Anastasiia.

Vadym immediately went to the JFO zone and was there for his child’s first birthday. He was not allowed to leave because of the intense fighting. Anastasiia says that Vadym was then in Maryinka or Volnovakha.

During all his years of service, Vadym Nazarov held various positions: he was a gunner-regulator, a signalman, and his last call was to be a scout. Until the last, he was a scout.


Vadym Nazarov met the first days of the full-scale invasion in the Sumy region, where he defended the border. A few days later, they were sent to the Chernihiv region. Vadym was part of the 16th Battalion of the 58th Brigade.

“I called him, we talked, and then he stopped picking up the phone. I called his cousin. He said: “So he is in Chernihiv Oblast. Don’t you know?” I didn’t know about it. The brother explained: “He didn’t want you to worry, he didn’t tell you,” his wife said.

On 9 March, Vadym got in touch with his wife for the last time. He wrote to Anastasiia that he loved her and his son very much, missed them, and that he was fine. The young woman still keeps this message. 

Screenshot of the last message from Vadym

After several days of trying to get through to her husband, Anastasiia started looking for Vadym through his comrades and commanders.

“The commander said that after the last battle their fate was unknown. We did not give up hope and continued to call Vadym. Maybe the connection would be established and we would hear from him somehow. But silence, silence, and we started looking for him through social media,” Anastasiia said.

In early April, she posted an announcement on Facebook. She also kept in touch with Vadym’s commander. He thought that most of the Ukrainian military might be in captivity.


After the posting of the search message, Anastasiia started receiving calls from locals.

They told her what had happened to them during the occupation, and several women offered to help her with the search. They checked the morgues, looked for a victim who looked like Vadym and looked at tattoos.

“They called me and said: “No, yours is not here, everything is fine, look for him, maybe he is in captivity”. And somehow, we kept hoping, this flicker of hope remained. On 12 April, I received a call from the Bayev family, their son Roman. He told me that Vadym was with them, they tried to hide him, but, he said, Vadym was dragged out and no one knows what happened to him. Well, we think, okay, maybe he’s still in captivity, we hope,” says Anastasiia.

Vadym and Anastasiia

One day, Vadym’s brother called his wife.

“He said: “That’s it, you can stop looking for him”. It was around 12 April. I asked him what he meant by not looking for him. He said: “He’s already gone”. I asked him if it was a bad joke. “His sister Vika called. They found him in the morgue,” Anastasiia recalls the conversation.

She didn’t believe it at first and called Vadym’s sister, who found him. The woman sent her a photo of the tattoo.

“I said: “It looks very similar. But maybe it’s not him? She said: “Unfortunately, it is him,” Anastasiia said.

A few days later, Vadym’s body was taken away and buried. In September, a monument to the defenders who died during the fighting was unveiled in the village of Lukashivka. In particular, to Vadym Nazarov. 

In 2022, Vadym Nazarov was awarded the Order of Courage posthumously. The award was taken by his wife and young son. 

Now Anastasiia is collecting signatures to submit a petition to award her husband the Hero of Ukraine posthumously. So far, she has collected only 7,800 votes out of the required 25,000.

“Thank you for not passing by, for investigating. It is important for us that everyone knows how and what happened, so that they do not forget. Who we are fighting and why we are fighting. And at what cost,” Anastasiia told journalists.

Vadym’s son recently turned 3 years old. When Vadym died, little Rostyslav was 1.5 years old. His mother does not tell him what happened to his father because he is too young to understand. 

“We have Vadym’s photographs hanging in our room. Rostyslav knows, he says ‘dad’. He knows that his father is there, but he is not with him,” the woman says.

Anastasiia has collected all her husband’s photos in albums and keeps them to show her son and tell him what his father was like. She says he is growing up becoming a little copy of his dad.

READ ALSO: “None of You Will Survive Here”: Who Shot a Captured Ukrainian Soldier in Chernihiv Region

The material has been prepared with the support of the European Union and the International Renaissance Foundation within the framework of the joint initiative “European Renaissance of Ukraine”. The material represents the position of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the position of the European Union or the International Renaissance Foundation.