For a while last year, from July to October, they were reunited when Kotenko was stationed in Lviv. They went running together on the weekends and trained together. It was a happy time. On 31 December, their families got together to ring in the new year, and a month or so later Kotenko came to Lviv to visit Yarovenko before deploying south on an operation. They stayed up late, drinking a little and talking. Along Ukraine’s borders, Russia’s forces were massed, waiting for orders to invade, but in Lviv life was normal and that night the war felt like a distant thing.