Ukrainian writer and Wikipedian Volodymyr Vakulenko killed by the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine

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Early this week, we received confirmation that Ukrainian writer, activist and long-term Wikipedia volunteer Volodymyr Vakulenko had been killed by the Russian army during its invasion of Ukraine.

Volodymyr Vakulenko in 2020

Volodymyr Vakulenko was a prominent Ukrainian writer, journalist, interpreter, and poet. He is an author of 13 published books and has received multiple literary awards. He edited and published several literary anthologies, and he organized numerous literary and artistic events across Ukraine.

Volodymyr had also been involved in activism and volunteer work. He participated in the 2014 Revolution of Dignity protests in Ukraine and was wounded there. Volodymyr created around 100 articles on Ukrainian Wikipedia and contributed with almost 4,000 edits since 2010; he was especially interested in coins and postal marks as subjects of his articles. Thanks to his contributions, Wikipedia readers can learn about the medieval coins of Azerbaijan, history of Mexico, or a Ukrainian poet, and many more topics. The articles he had created have been viewed more than 150 000 times. 

When the Russian Army occupied Volodymyr’s village of Kapytolivka in the Kharkiv region in northeastern Ukraine, Volodymyr refused to leave – and continued to care for the vulnerable in his village. He was kidnapped by the Russian Army in early March together with his young son. His son was later released and is now safe, but Volodymyr himself couldn’t be found, even after Ukraine’s Armed Forces liberated the Kharkiv region in September.

While his relatives and friends feared Volodymyr had been killed, it was only on Monday, November 28th that DNA tests confirmed his death. 

Volodymyr, aged around 50 at the time of his death, is survived by his 14-year-old son Vitalii and his parents.

If you would like to support Volodymyr’s family financially in helping care for his son, please contact

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No words to describe the pain I feel reading this news. The best people of the Ukrainian nation are dying in pain in this unfair war that Russia started.
Thank you for sharing this story. The world needs to hear more about the Ukrainians who became innocent victims of Russian aggression.