THE HEARTBROKEN mum of the Ukrainian soldier hailed a hero after his cold-blooded execution by Russian thugs has spoken for the first time of his courage.
Video of defiant, cigarette-smoking Oleksandr “Sasha” Matsiievskyi saying softly “Glory to Ukraine” before being riddled with bullets shocked the world.
And his grieving mum Peraska Demchuk, 67, yesterday saluted her son with a moving tribute.
She told The Sun: “My son always wanted to be a hero – he is a hero now”
“My grandson saw the video then caught me crying and said: ‘I will be worthy of my father.’
“My son took it for what it was, looked death into the eyes and lived his last seconds as a proud man.
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“I will never forgive Russians for the death of my son – No. No. No.
"They told me it wasn't Sasha, but I literally felt it from a distance – I had this unshakeable feeling, dreading that it was definitely him.
“I will never forget seeing the bullet wounds in his shoulders – left and right and the literal dent in his head above his eyebrow.”
President Volodymr Zelensky said after the video went viral last week: “Today I conferred the title of Hero of Ukraine upon Oleksandr Matsiyevsky, a soldier.
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“A man whom all Ukrainians will know. A man who will be remembered forever.”
Oleksandr’s grisly execution was filmed after he went missing near the “meat grinder” frontline of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.
A Russian soldier is heard saying: "Die you b*****d," as gunshots ring out after the Ukrainian hero said his last words.
The war crime is another grisly atrocity among thousands already being investigated.
Divorced Oleksandr , aged in his 40s, leaves a 19 years old son, Mikhail, who lives in Germany with his mum Yulia.
Mum Peraska added: “I wished so much that Sasha was alive.
“I dreamed he was coming home, opening the gate – but now I know that's not going to happen.”
Kyiv continues to call for Western support to help them defeat Vladimir Putin, who has so far lost more than 150,000 soldiers.
Vlad foolishly believed his forces would be welcomed into Ukraine as liberators when he invaded last February.
But instead the initial attack ended in a disaster which saw his forces devastated and thrown back to Russia.
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Moscow's war machine however continues grind forward – with much of the fighting now centred in Ukraine's east around the city of Bakhmut.
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