Among the distressing pictures of dead bodies in Bucha, the Kyiv suburb where Russian forces are accused of carrying out atrocities against Ukrainian citizens, one in particular stood out to Anastasiia Subacheva, a makeup artist from the nearby city of Gostomel.
In it she recognized a perfectly manicured hand with red and white nail polish — one that she had seen many times holding a brush or lipstick, or spreading foundation or eye shadow during her makeup lessons.
Now, it lay lifeless on a street, covered in dirt.
“When I saw it, I felt physically like my heart started to break,” Ms. Subacheva said in a telephone call on Wednesday from the city of Kropyvnytskyi, to which she had fled with her family.
Ms. Subacheva, who has been a makeup artist in Bucha for five years, said she knew a lot of women there because she did the makeup for many of them.
The pictured woman, Iryna Filkina, 52, a heating station operator, had reached out to Ms. Subacheva in February to inquire about makeup classes. She dreamed of becoming popular and increasing the number of her Instagram followers, the makeup artist recalled.
For that, she said, Ms. Filkina wanted her help to be beautiful and fashionable. She was excited about an upcoming concert by the Ukrainian pop diva Olya Polyakova and talked during their classes about what she would wear and how she would do her makeup for the event.
“I finally understood the most important thing: You need to love yourself and live for yourself,” Ms. Subacheva recalled Ms. Filkina telling her. “Finally I will live the way I want.”
But the war put an end to those dreams.
Ms. Filkina’s daughter, Olha Shchyruk, who had fled Bucha after the war started, said she had learned on March 6 that her mother had been shot the previous day while returning from work on her bicycle.
Yet for about a month, the daughter had kept some hope that she might still be alive.
“I understand that it wasn’t possible, because she hadn’t been in touch for a month,” Ms. Shchyruk said in a message on the Telegram social media app on Wednesday. “But a child will always be waiting for her mother.”
On Friday — Ms. Filkina’s birthday — Ms. Shchyruk received a video of her mother lying dead on the ground, as well as the picture of her hand.
“Even if there was no manicure,” she said, “I would have recognized it was my mother.”
She said she was still looking for her mother’s body to bury it.