UPDATED: Polish village remembers missile victim’s help for refugees

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PRZEWODOW, Poland (Reuters) – A Polish man buried on Saturday after being killed this week by a missile near the Ukrainian border had worked hard to shelter Ukrainian refugees in the early days of the war, including in a building meters away from where he died, locals said.

Two grain drying facility workers were killed when a missile crashed into the tiny village of Przewodow earlier this week while Russia was firing missiles into Ukraine. Polish authorities say it was a Ukrainian air defence weapon that went astray; Kyiv has called for further investigation.

Residents said a victim buried on Saturday had played a big role when the village of barely 440 people mobilised in the early days of the war to help Ukrainian refugees, some 40,000 of whom passed through the surrounding district.

He “was very engaged from the very beginning. He was driving, bringing all the necessities, food, diapers, wipes and all the other necessary items,” recalled Stanislaw Staszczuk, a local official from the nearby district centre of Dolhobyczow.

Funeral for 60-year-old victim of an explosion Boguslaw W. at the Church of St. Brother Albert in Przewodow village, Poland, 19 November 2022. On 15 November, a rocket hit a grain-drying facility in the village of Przewodow near the border with Ukraine, killing two people. . EPA-EFE/Wojtek Jargilo

The victim buried on Saturday is known as Boguslaw W. in Polish media, which have refrained from publishing both men’s surnames to protect their families’ privacy. The other victim, known as Bogdan C., is due to be buried on Sunday.

Boguslaw W. had prepared three rooms where Ukrainian families stayed early in the war, in a building at the Argocom grain storage facility right near where the missile landed.

“We hosted lots of people, 150 or maybe 200, the rotation was huge until the end of May or early June and (Boguslaw W.) was very involved,” said Federico Viola, the grain facility’s Italian owner.

“The whole community cooked meals for the refugees, I did too, and while it may sound controversial, we had a really joyful time with the Ukrainian women and their children, and we are still in touch with some of them.”

When the news of Boguslaw W.’s death came to light, messages of grief and support from Ukrainians he had hosted started pouring in, Viola said.

Reporting by Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska

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