Inside Kyiv's St Michael's cathedral, mourners gathered Tuesday to bid farewell to Ukrainian writer Victoria Amelina, who died of her wounds suffered in a Russian missile strike on a restaurant.
The coffin of the rising star in Ukrainian literature was placed at the centre of the cathedral, draped with the blue-and-yellow national flag.
The 37-year-old was dining at the Ria Pizza restaurant in Kramatorsk -- popular with journalists, the military and aid workers -- when a Russian strike hit last week.
She was seriously wounded and died in hospital four days later, one of 13 people, including three children, killed in the strike.
Her family, including her 10-year-old son, as well as several writers and journalists attended the ceremony. Her body will then be taken for burial in her native city of Lviv in western Ukraine.
A crying woman in dark sunglasses carried Amelina's portrait, a youthful-looking woman with long blonde hair.
She had written several adult and children's fiction books and was reportedly working on her first non-fiction book, about women documenting Russia's invasion.
She had also set up a literary festival in the eastern Donetsk town of New York -- the exact origins of the name are disputed -- which now lies on the front line with Russia.
Amelina also worked for a foundation called "Truth Hounds" that says it carries out field missions to document Russian "war crimes" in Ukraine.
Attending the funeral, the group's director Roman Avramenko said Amelina "knew how to convey the truth to the large masses",
"Thanks to her persistent work, the whole world continued to learn the truth about this war, about Russia's aggression," he said.
"But now we have lost this person."
An Orthodox priest waved incense over her coffin and musicians played Ukrainian folk instruments -- the kobza, sopilka and trembita -- singing words by national poet Taras Shevchenko.
- 'Beyond literature' -
Amelina died of her wounds in a hospital in Dnipro, where she was transported after the Kramatorsk strike.
The PEN Ukraine writers' association said she was dining with a delegation of Colombian journalists at the pizzeria when the strike hit.
In her last tweet, she shared a photo of Colombian writer Hector Abad Faciolince embracing a Ukrainian librarian in the village of Kapytolivka, recently reclaimed by Kyiv from Moscow's forces.
Other recent social media posts showed her reciting her poetry at a literary festival in Kyiv.
PEN Ukraine praised her literary work as well as her aim to gather evidence on Russian crimes in Ukraine.
"Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Victoria Amelina has expanded her work far beyond literature," it said.
Amelina was born in Lviv, western Ukraine, in the dying years of the Soviet Union.
PEN Ukraine said she had briefly moved to Canada -- home to a large Ukrainian diaspora -- with her father, but later returned to her native city.
According to Ukrainian organisations, she worked in Lviv's IT sector for a decade before quitting the industry to focus on her writing.
© Agence France-Presse
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