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Ukrainian refugee, 40, dies in UK before her husband can say goodbye

Olha Krivoruchko's husband Yurii rushed from Ukraine to be by her side but it was too late.

Olha Krivoruchko, 40, died on 12 March following a short illness. (GoFundMe)
Olha Krivoruchko, 40, died on 12 March following a short illness. (GoFundMe)

A Ukrainian refugee died in the UK shortly before her husband arrived in the country to say goodbye.

Olha Krivoruchko, 40, died on 12 March following a short illness after moving to Taunton, Somerset, when Russia invaded Ukraine last year.

Her husband Yurii made a desperate dash from their native country to be by her side but arrived too late.

Paying tribute to her, he said: “My wife, Olha Krivoruchko, was a very cheerful and kind person.

“She spent her whole life worrying about people close to her even if it was to her detriment.

“She always helped those who needed her help. In her short life she never hurt anyone. She loved life.”

Read more: Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 387 of the invasion

Men walk near multi-storey apartment blocks, which were destroyed in the course of Russia-Ukraine conflict, in Mariupol, Russian-controlled Ukraine, March 16, 2023. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
Multi-storey apartment blocks which were destroyed in Mariupol, Ukraine. (Reuters)

The Somerset community has launched a GoFundMe page to pay for Krivoruchko’s funeral costs and to support her husband.

It said: “On 12 March 2023 a Ukrainian lady who arrived in Taunton last year very sadly passed away after a short illness. Her name was Olha Krivoruchko and she was only 40 years old.

“Sadly, her husband Yurii arrived from Ukraine just too late to say his final goodbye.

“The local Somerset community of hosts and Ukrainian guests have come together to show their support for Yurii, and as a mark of respect for Olha, in setting up a GoFundMe account towards the cost of cremation/funeral/flowers and to support Yurii through this incredibly difficult time.”

Read more: Ukraine war latest: Russia changing conscription age to boost troops

It comes after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Russian president Vladimir Putin on Friday, alleging Moscow's forcible deportation of Ukrainian children is a war crime.

Russia has not concealed a programme under which it has brought thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia but presents it as a humanitarian campaign to protect orphans and children abandoned in the conflict zone.

Watch: ICC issues arrest warrant for Putin over Ukraine war crime allegations

The announcement of the arrest warrant provoked a furious response from Moscow.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia found the very questions raised by the ICC "outrageous and unacceptable", and that any decisions of the court were "null and void" with respect to Russia.

Russia, like the United States and China, is not a member of the ICC.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces continued on Friday to withstand Russian assaults on the ruined city of Bakhmut, the focal point for eight months of Russian attempts to advance through the industrial Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine bordering Russia.

Bakhmut has become Europe's bloodiest infantry battle since World War Two.

Russian forces have captured the city's eastern part but have so far failed to encircle it.

Russia denies deliberately attacking civilians but says it has hit infrastructure to degrade Ukraine's military and remove what it says is a potential threat to its own security.

Ukraine and its allies accuse Moscow of an unprovoked war to grab territory from its pro-Western neighbour.