CNN anchor breaks down interviewing man who lost wife and children in Ukraine attack

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By Carina Murphy

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CNN news anchor Erin Burnett was moved to tears on Wednesday when a man told her how his wife and children were killed in an attack in Ukraine.

Burnett broke down live on air while Serhiy Perebyinis recalled the harrowing moment he realized he had lost his family.

Perebyinis's wife Tetiana Perebyinis, his 18-year-old son Mykyta and his nine-year-old daughter Alisa were all killed in a devastating Russian mortar strike on March 6 in their hometown of Irpin.

A heartbreaking photo of the victims was captured by New York Times photographer Lynsey Addario and has been widely circulated online. During his interview on CNN, Perebyinis told Burnett (through a translator) about the nightmare moment he found out his family had been killed when he saw the photo on Twitter.

Watch the emotional interview below:

At the time of the attack, he was in eastern Ukraine looking after his sick mother, but he had been keeping tabs on his family via Google maps.

"We used to see each other with my wife on Google Maps, and that morning I noticed that there was unusual geolocation between Kyiv and their ping, and then 20 minutes later her phone moved to another location - to a hospital in Kyiv and I suspected something was wrong," he said.

Later on, the father of two's worst fears were confirmed when he saw reports that a family had been killed by fatal shelling in the area.

"I saw a photo on Twitter and I recognized my children. Their things, their clothes, and I called my friends to say 'the children are dead, their bodies are lying on the pavement,'" he recalled. "And I said 'could you help me find my wife?'"

Burnett - who was visibly affected by the story - had to stop and compose herself several times in the interview, as she wiped tears from her face and her voice shook with the effort of holding back a sob.

"Serhiy, as a parent, any person around the world can’t imagine your unbearable loss. Above all, losing your children…," she said shakingly, before asking: "Can you tell me about them?”

The grieving father described his kids as "normal, cheerful children". Elsewhere in the interview, he paid tribute to his "cheerful" wife, who was the financial director of Silicon Valley company SE Rankings, and to whom he was married for 23 years.

When Burnett asked him whether he has been able to bury his family, Perebyinis said that he had "managed to bury everyone".

"I was driving for three days and I broke in there and managed to bury everyone. I even managed to take away a pet dog from there," he said.

By the end of the interview, Burnett's face was smudged with make-up and tears. She thanked Perebyinis for sharing his heartbreaking story.

If you would like to know how you can support the Ukrainian people at this time, click HERE to find a list of organizations and groups dedicated to helping those affected by this crisis.

Featured Image Credit: Sipa US / Alamy

CNN anchor breaks down interviewing man who lost wife and children in Ukraine attack

vt-author-image

By Carina Murphy

Article saved!Article saved!

CNN news anchor Erin Burnett was moved to tears on Wednesday when a man told her how his wife and children were killed in an attack in Ukraine.

Burnett broke down live on air while Serhiy Perebyinis recalled the harrowing moment he realized he had lost his family.

Perebyinis's wife Tetiana Perebyinis, his 18-year-old son Mykyta and his nine-year-old daughter Alisa were all killed in a devastating Russian mortar strike on March 6 in their hometown of Irpin.

A heartbreaking photo of the victims was captured by New York Times photographer Lynsey Addario and has been widely circulated online. During his interview on CNN, Perebyinis told Burnett (through a translator) about the nightmare moment he found out his family had been killed when he saw the photo on Twitter.

Watch the emotional interview below:

At the time of the attack, he was in eastern Ukraine looking after his sick mother, but he had been keeping tabs on his family via Google maps.

"We used to see each other with my wife on Google Maps, and that morning I noticed that there was unusual geolocation between Kyiv and their ping, and then 20 minutes later her phone moved to another location - to a hospital in Kyiv and I suspected something was wrong," he said.

Later on, the father of two's worst fears were confirmed when he saw reports that a family had been killed by fatal shelling in the area.

"I saw a photo on Twitter and I recognized my children. Their things, their clothes, and I called my friends to say 'the children are dead, their bodies are lying on the pavement,'" he recalled. "And I said 'could you help me find my wife?'"

Burnett - who was visibly affected by the story - had to stop and compose herself several times in the interview, as she wiped tears from her face and her voice shook with the effort of holding back a sob.

"Serhiy, as a parent, any person around the world can’t imagine your unbearable loss. Above all, losing your children…," she said shakingly, before asking: "Can you tell me about them?”

The grieving father described his kids as "normal, cheerful children". Elsewhere in the interview, he paid tribute to his "cheerful" wife, who was the financial director of Silicon Valley company SE Rankings, and to whom he was married for 23 years.

When Burnett asked him whether he has been able to bury his family, Perebyinis said that he had "managed to bury everyone".

"I was driving for three days and I broke in there and managed to bury everyone. I even managed to take away a pet dog from there," he said.

By the end of the interview, Burnett's face was smudged with make-up and tears. She thanked Perebyinis for sharing his heartbreaking story.

If you would like to know how you can support the Ukrainian people at this time, click HERE to find a list of organizations and groups dedicated to helping those affected by this crisis.

Featured Image Credit: Sipa US / Alamy