LVIV, Ukraine – Artemiy Dymyd’s closest friends unwrapped her parachute and laid it gently on her grave. Silky red material enveloped his coffin as it was lowered.
The men, many of the soldiers themselves, covered the newly dug hole with earth. The first shovelfuls landed with a thud.
The funeral of Mr. Dymyd, a Marine killed in action, was the first funeral of the day in Lviv, a western Ukrainian city, where residents saw an incessant stream of their children killed in the war with Russia. By the end of Tuesday, three more freshly excavated graves near Mr. Dymyd’s would also be filled with young soldiers who died in battle for the east of the country, hundreds of miles away.
The funeral began in a Greek-Catholic church, an Eastern branch of Catholicism widespread in Lviv. Mr. Dymyd’s father, a priest, delivered the eulogy of him. And then her mother, with her voice full of emotion, sang one last lullaby for her son.
The procession then made an all-too-familiar journey from the church to the town’s main market square, where dozens of young people in scouting uniforms formed an honor guard. Mr. Dymyd, 27, was a member of the Ukrainian Scout Organization from the age of 7. The small children, teenagers and adults of the group were there to say the last goodbye.
At the bottom of the square, four white signs announced details of the military funeral to be held in the city on Tuesday, all for the men killed in recent weeks in the battle for the country’s east. Three of them have never turned 30.
A young woman, wearing the distinctive green scouts scarf, closed her eyes, drew sharp breaths, and clenched her fists to keep tears at bay as she joined the slow procession for Mr. Dymyd.
Scouting was only part of his life. Mr. Dymyd also loved traveling, adventure and extreme sports such as skydiving. His nickname was Kurka, which means chicken. Friends said Metallica’s music would be more suitable for his funeral than the military chants that now play every day at Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv.
“He’s one of the most respectable men I’ve ever met,” said Dmytro Paschuk, 26. “He has lived many lives in his he 27 years. People write books about characters like him, and maybe there will be books soon. “
Mr. Paschuk, who ran a wine shop before the war, served alongside Mr. Dymyd in a special task force of the Ukrainian marines. They had become like brothers in the last few months, he said.
On the night of the attack that ended his friend’s life, Mr. Paschuk said, he woke up to the sound of an explosion and soon realized that something was wrong. He immediately looked for Mr. Dymyd and saw that another friend was giving him first aid. When he saw Mr. Dymyd’s eyes, he knew he was ugly.
“I was afraid to be near him,” she said slowly. “Because when I saw him I felt she wouldn’t make it.”
Mr. Dymyd died shortly thereafter.
Mr. Paschuk said he has mixed feelings about returning to the front lines in a few days. He described waves of emotions, but said he wasn’t angry or vindictive.
“I don’t feel like I want to kill everyone because it happened,” Paschuk said. “Thanks to Kurka. She taught me to stay calm. “
Roman Lozynskyi, a naval mate, had been friends with Mr. Dymyd for two decades, having met him when they were young explorers. Mr. Lozynskyi, who is a member of the Ukrainian parliament, volunteered for the army three months ago and served in the same unit as Mr. Dymyd and Mr. Paschuk.
He described his lifelong friend as a “madman” with a lust for life who had rushed back to Ukraine from a skydiving trip to Brazil to enlist when the war began. Mr. Dymyd wanted to continue skydiving during the war and finally got a chance last month as part of a mission, his friends told him.
It was Mr. Dymyd’s brother, Dmytro Dymyd, who thought of putting the parachute in his grave, Mr. Lozynskyi said, in nod to Mr. Dymyd’s passion for the sport of skydiving. The brother, who is also a soldier, was allowed to attend the funeral but would be back in the Donetsk region in a few days.
As the mourners slowly drifted away from the cemetery, grave diggers crushed the earth on Mr. Dymyd’s grave to form a sturdy mound.
There were still three left.