Like any proud father, Oleg Bychko beams into the camera while holding his young son as the pair take a selfie. But he will never see that little boy become a man.
A few short years later, the young boy, still only ten years old, would be pulled out from the rubble of their destroyed home in Kharkiv – killed by Vladimir Putin.
Oleg, his face etched with grief, stood transfixed as he watched silent rescuers place Tymofiy’s small frame into the large black body bag this morning, knowing that he will never hear his son’s laugh or see his infectious smile again.
Tymofiy, still wearing his Spider-Man pyjamas from the night before, was killed after two Russian Iskander ballistic missiles struck his home in the early hours of this morning. His 68-year-old grandmother was also killed in the strike.
MailOnline has chosen to run this picture of Tymofiy’s body to show the reality of Vladimir Putin’s war and the horrors his troops are inflicting on innocent civilians.
Oleg, his face scratched and his clothes covered in blood, said he had managed to pull his younger son and wife from the rubble after the devastating strike destroyed their residential building – but he couldn’t reach Tymofiy.
Another 30 people, including an 11-month-old baby, were injured in the barbaric attack, which left a crater in the street just metres away from the apartment building.
In his family photos, Tymofiy would often smile cheekily and wave at the camera or stick his tongue out while being held tightly by his father on day trips out.
Family photos show a ten-year-old boy smiling broadly with his father – but he will never see his son grow up after the small child was killed by Vladimir Putin’s missiles in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv today
Tymofiy would often smile cheekily and wave at the camera or stick his tongue out while being held tightly by his father Oleg Bychko (pictured together) on family trips out
Tymofiy, still wearing his Spiderman pyjamas from the night before, was carefully pulled from the rubble by emergency crews after two Iskander ballistic missiles struck his home. MailOnline has chosen to run this picture of the Tymofiy’s body to show the reality of Vladimir Putin’s war and the horrors his troops are inflicting on innocent civilians
The little boy’s father, Oleg Bychko, his face etched with grief, stood transfixed as he watched the silent rescuers place his son’s small frame into the large black body bag
But there will be no more family photographs with Tymofiy in them and his heartbroken parents will never see their little boy grow up.
The barbaric attack came just one day after 51 people perished in one of the most lethal missile strikes on Ukraine since Putin invaded on February 24, 2022.
That attack targeted a café in the village of Groza, where around 60 mourners, including children, had gathered for a wake of a fallen Ukrainian soldier.
Just 330 people were recorded living in the village prior to the strike, meaning the Russian rocket attack effectively wiped out around a sixth of the population.
While the devastation unfolded in Ukraine, Putin boasted of Russia’s nuclear power at a meeting in Sochi. He announced his military scientists had completed work on the Sarmat 2 – or ‘Satan’ – intercontinental ballistic missile and threatened to pull out of the nuclear test ban treaty.
Following today’s attack, rescue workers worked among the rubble of bricks, twisted metal and wood, to retrieve the body of little Tymofiy as his grief-stricken father stood in horror at the devastation.
The explosion ripped through the residential building, with debris and rubble littering the street below. Surrounding buildings were blackened by the blast, which shattered windows and damaged parked cars.
Yevhen Shevchenko, a resident of a nearby nine-story building, said he was in bed when the attack occurred. ‘There was a blast wave, a powerful explosion. It blew out the windows and doors in the apartment,’ he said.
Family photographs show Tymofiy smiling with his parents
Oleg Bychko looks at a residential building damaged by a Russian missile strike, where rescues recover from debris the body of his 10-year-old son Tymofii
A woman breaks down in tears after the Russian rocket attack struck the residential building in Kharkiv
Emergency workers search for victims after a Russian rocket hit an apartment building in central Kharkiv on Friday
Smoke rises from the ruins of a multi-storey building after a devastating Russian missile strike in the early hours of this morning
Pictured: The destroyed apartment building where 10-year-old boy Tymofii Bychko was killed by a Russian missile strike on Friday
Injured local residents look in horror at the destroyed apartment building that was descimated by Russian missiles
Rescuers work at the site of a rocket attack on Kharkiv, Eastern Ukraine, on Friday
A rescuer moves a fragment of a missile from a crater after Russia launched a missile strike on residential buildings in Kharkiv on Friday
Destroyed cars stand amid debris in the central residential district hit by Russian Iskander missile on Friday in Kharkiv
Rescuers conduct search and rescue operation in the central residential district hit by Russian Iskander missile in Kharkiv
Another 23 people, including an 11-month-old baby, were injured in the barbaric attack, which left a crater in the street just metres away from the apartment building
An injured man stands in front of a building destroyed in a Russian rocket attack, in central Kharkiv on Friday
A couple hold each other after the Russian rocket attack struck Kharkiv on Friday
Rescuers sift through the wreckage in the city of Kharkiv, with a ten-year-old boy killed in the devastating attack
In yesterday’s rocket attack, a crowded café and grocery store in the village of Hroza in the Kupyansk district of Kharkiv was decimated.
Devastating pictures of the aftermath of yesterday’s strike saw blackened and dismembered bodies spread out on the ground opposite the ruins of the café.
Police and soldiers loaded white body bags onto trucks that would take them to Kharkiv for DNA testing.
‘My son was just found without a head, without arms, without legs, without anything. They recognised him from his documents,’ Volodymyr Mukhovaty, 70, told reporters.
His wife and daughter-in-law were also at the wake and he had ‘little hope’ of finding them alive.
‘I lived with my wife for 48 years,’ he said. ‘I will not last long alone.’
A six-year-old child was also among the victims.
The soldier whose wake it was had been killed a month after Russia invaded. He had been buried in the southern city of Dnipro – away from his home village, then under Russian occupation.
He was reburied in Groza on Thursday morning.
His wife and son, also a soldier, were both killed in the strike.
Mr Klymenko said initial evidence showed an Iskander missile had been used.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was attending a European summit in Spain at the time, said he had no doubt that the strike had been deliberate.
‘The Russian military could not fail to know where they were hitting,’ he said. ‘It was not a blind strike.’
‘The brutal Russian crime of hitting an ordinary grocery store with a rocket is a completely deliberate terrorist attack,’ Zelensky added.
Russian authorities have repeatedly insisted that their forces are only targeting strategic military locations and are not waging war on the civilian population of Ukraine.
But the reality of Putin’s war is different. The world has watched in horror as Putin’s soldiers have dropped missiles on grocery stores, railway stations and hospitals throughout the 18 months of this full-scale war that has seen thousands killed.
Large swathes of the Kharkiv region, including Groza, were captured by Russian forces in the early days of the invasion last year.
Ukrainian forces recaptured much of the border territory during a lightning offensive late last year, but the area has continued to come under regular shelling.
A woman collapses with grief as she kneels next to the bodies of Ukrainian civilians killed in the Russian strike on the grocery store on Thursday
Servicemen load one of the bodies onto a truck following the attack in Groza, which was the single most lethal missile strike on Ukraine
Rescuers search through the ruins of a cafe yesterday after the devastating strike which also killed a six-year-old child
Just 330 people were recorded living in the village of Groza prior to the strike, meaning the Russian rocket attack effectively wiped out around a sixth of the population
President Zelensky’s adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said the Groza attack had ‘no military logic’.
‘This is a reminder to anyone who is willing to smile and shake hands with war criminal Putin at international conferences,’ he said.
He added: ‘This is a reminder to anyone who is willing to smile and shake hands with war criminal Putin at international conferences.
‘A reminder to all those who want to sell something to Russia and return to bloody business as usual,’ he said, adding: ‘Putin’s Russia is a true evil’.
White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre condemned the ‘horrifying’ strike, saying ‘this is why we’re doing everything that we can to help Ukraine’.
Denise Brown, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, also called the attack ‘absolutely horrifying’ and said that ‘intentionally directing an attack against civilians or civilian objects is a war crime’.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who had met with Zelensky at the European Summit, said the strike ‘demonstrated the depths of depravity Russian forces are willing to sink to’.
It came as Putin warned his ‘Satan 2’ intercontinental ballistic missile, pictured during testing, were ready for deployment
He threatened the West with total nuclear destruction leaving ‘no chance of survival’ in the event of a strike on Russia
Hours after the attack, Moscow said it had destroyed eight Ukrainian drones in western Russia’s Kursk and Belgorod regions, but made no mention of any casualties.
Russia continued its attacks overnight elsewhere in Ukraine, targeting port infrastructure in the southern Izmail district, on the Danube river near the Romanian border.
Ukraine’s air force said it had downed 25 Russian attack drones in six regions, including Odesa, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv and Dnipro, but added that eight more slipped through and hit their targets.
Meanwhile in Sochi, the Russian president delivered a venomous speech at the Valdai Discussion Club, denouncing ‘threats’ from the West and vowing there would be ‘no chance of survival’ in the event of a strike on Russia.
In an anti-US rant, the dictator said his powerful ‘Satan-2’ missiles are ready for deployment in an ominous doomsday warning.
Putin told the conference: ‘From the moment the launch of missiles is detected, no matter where it comes from – from any point of the world ocean or from any territory – such a number, so many hundreds of our missiles appear in the air in a retaliatory strike that there is no chance of survival there will be no single enemy left, and in several directions at once.’
The West has not threatened a first strike on Moscow and it is only his officials and an army of propagandists who have talked up the use of nuclear weapons in the Ukraine conflict.
Putin asked the West to understand that threats against Russia are ‘absolutely unacceptable for any potential aggressor’.
He said Russia had almost completed work on its nuclear-capable Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile system and successfully tested the nuclear-powered and nuclear-capable Burevestnik strategic cruise missile.
Russia has not conducted a test involving a nuclear explosion since 1990, the year before the collapse of the Soviet Union, but Putin declined to rule out the possibility it could resume such testing.
He argued that the leaders of the West had lost ‘a sense of reality’ because of what he cast as Washington’s ‘colonial thinking’, and questioned what right the United States had to lecture any other country and argued that the nation considered itself the only arbiter of truth on the planet.
The Russian leader added that the conflict in Ukraine was ‘not a territorial’ one and that Moscow has ‘no interests from the point of view of conquering some territories’.
He claimed that Ukraine has lost more than 90,000 troops since the start of its counter-offensive in early June and also said that Kyiv has lost 557 tanks and around 1,900 armoured vehicles.