Tatiana Perebeinis and her two children – Alise, 9, and Nikita, 18 – were killed by Russian shelling on Sunday as the family attempted to evacuate Irpin, Ukraine, according to a statement from her employer, SE Ranking.
Another unidentified man believed to be a family friend also died in the blast.
Perebeinis, 43, was SE Ranking’s chief accountant. The Bay Area technology company released a statement on Monday confirming the deaths.
“There are no words to describe our grief or to make amends for our pain. But for us it is crucial not to let Tania and her children Alise and Nikita remain statistics. Her family fell victim to the unprovoked shootings on civilians, which under any law is a crime against humanity,” company said in the statement.
Ksenia Khirvonina, public relations manager for SE Ranking, said Perebeinis was from Donetsk and fled to Kyiv in 2014 after the city was occupied. Tatiana, her children and her husband had been living since 2018 in an apartment in the northern town of Irpin, just outside Kyiv.
Although much of Irpin was left without water, electricity and heating supplies, Perebeinis was reluctant to leave town because she had cared for her sick mother. A day before they fled, the apartments above their house were bombed, forcing them to take refuge in the basement of their building, where they remained until Sunday, according to Khirvonina.
“Even from then on, she was telling us everything was fine, encouraging everyone around her and texting my colleagues to make sure everything was fine,” Khirvonina said.
According to Khirvonina, Perebeinis had wanted to leave on Saturday, but finally decided to wait to leave through the “green corridor” with other civilians.
Ukrainian photojournalist Andriy Dubchak captured the moment the family was hit by a mortar shell in a graphic video posted by the New York Times.
“The Russian army is made up of criminals, and they must be stopped. Our hearts are broken. Our prayers go out to all Ukrainians, who are fighting for their right to exist,” the company said.
Perebeinis was taken to a nearby hospital, where she later died. Nikita, a university student, and Alise were killed instantly. The man with them also survived the initial blast but later died, according to the New York Times.
Previous media had mistakenly identified the man as the children’s father. Perebeinis’ husband – who SE Ranking has been in contact with – was not fleeing Irpin with the family and was in another town at the time of their deaths.
Khirvonina said she did not know where Perebeinis and the children planned to flee, but it would likely have been a town in western Ukraine. Ukrainian men over the age of 18 are banned from leaving the country and Perebeinis had refused to leave his son Nikita.
“My general impression was that they had one big family, they were united,” Khirvonina said. “Tatiana herself was a very nice and supportive person, you could always come to her for work advice or life advice, it didn’t matter. She always encouraged everyone around her or with her stories and with her jokes. She was a really great person.”
SE Ranking, which specializes in search engine optimization (SEO), has a global presence, including San Francisco; London; Minsk, Belarus; Kiev and Moscow.
Hear from the photojournalist who captured the moment: