Ukrainian 18-Year-Old Adopts His 4 Siblings After Mother Dies in His Arms

An 18-year-old Ukrainian has become the guardian of his four brothers and sisters after their mother was killed in a bomb blast.

Vyacheslav Yalov, from the village of Verkhnotoretske in Donetsk Oblast in Ukraine, was forced to step in to care for his siblings and even evacuated them from their home.

They eventually managed to settle down in Lviv Oblast. Once there, Yalov set about arranging places for his siblings in local schools and obtaining food and clothing, as they had lost everything when they fled their home.

Vyacheslav Yalov adopts siblings
Vyacheslav Yalov, 18, became a guardian for his four younger brothers and sisters when their mother was killed by an enemy shell in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, in March 2022. Drohobych City Council/Zenger

Speaking about the day his mother Marina, 37, died, Yalov said the family had just gotten home when two explosions from incoming shells landed meters away from them.

He said: "The second shell was the worst, it was deafening. When I opened my eyes, I could see my mother lying on her side. I went over to her and tried to lift her up and she said 'I'm fine.'"

He said an instant later she was dead and there was nothing he could do to save her.

He said they bandaged her wounds in the hope that she could be revived, but, despite other people coming to help, there was nothing that could be done.

He said: "I sat next to her for a long time and couldn't believe it. I didn't know what to do, how to tell the kids. I went into the house, the younger children understood everything and accepted it, only Nicole asked me if maybe we could do something."

Vyacheslav Yalov adopts siblings
Vyacheslav Yalov, 18, became a guardian for his four younger brothers and sisters when their mother was killed by an enemy shell in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, in March 2022. Drohobych City Council/Zenger

With the fierce fighting, the siblings were not even able to arrange a proper funeral and had to bury their mother in a bomb crater. They are planning to go back home when normality returns so they can give her a proper funeral.

They left their hometown by train, and Yalov arranged the paperwork so that he could look after his siblings and they would not end up in orphanages.

They managed to get two rooms in a hostel, with the local authority promising to give them their own home and assistance so that all of them could study and not just the four youngest.

Yalov explained: "We don't have any other relatives. I want to give them a childhood and I know I will be able to succeed."

As well as Nicole, 11, there is also Olivia, 8, and their two brothers, Daniel, 16, and Timur, 10.

Their new adoptive parent and brother, whose nickname is Slavko, added that he does not want to give up on his dreams of becoming a doctor.

He said that Daniel wants to work in IT, Timur wants to work as a prosecutor, Olivia as a judge, and Nicole as a lawyer.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.