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in Kiev, the difficult identification of civilians found dead after the departure of Russian troops

More than 1,200 people were found dead in the Kiev region, Ukraine, following the withdrawal of the Russian army. The long identification work is an ordeal for both the families and the forensic scientists.

Article written by

Thibault Lefèvre and Benjamin Thuau – edited by Clémentine Vergnaud – france info

French radio

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In one of the two morgues in Kiev, Ukraine, two coffins stand side by side. “My father-in-law was called Volodymyr Tcherednitchenko and my mother-in-law, Nadia Miakouchka”Artem explains, just for the two coffins. Like them, 1,220 were found dead in the Kiev region following the withdrawal of Russian troops, Ukraine’s attorney general announced on Sunday, April 10, nearly two weeks after the soldiers left. The balance will undoubtedly increase in the coming days as families are still searching for their loved ones and the identification of the victims is still ongoing.

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With a frozen look, restrained sobs, Ertem recognized the bodies of his in-laws. “We heard they were murdered on March 24. We looked for them in all the morgues and then we knew they were here”, he says. The funeral will take place in the afternoon in Irpin, one of the occupied towns in the greater Kiev suburbs most affected by the fighting.

“My in-laws didn’t want to leave because my in-laws had a sore foot. A tank fired at their house. They ran outside and were killed by automatic fire. The bodies were left in front of their house.”

Artem, Ukrainian whose in-laws have passed away

at franceinfo

These bullet-riddled corpses now lie in coffins in the back of a utility. These are the 147th and 148th casualties recorded here since the end of the Battle of Kiev. The identification work is methodical. “We use DNA fingerprints, fingerprints and see if there are certain traces such as tattoos or scars”explains Vadim, medical researcher.

Families then come to pick up their loved ones. A difficult stage for Vadim. “All these people died in the war. They are innocent people who do not deserve such a fate. It is difficult, I am a human being like the others.” In front of the morgue are two more trucks carrying, in each of the trailers, about fifty corpses in body bags that must be identified, which must then be returned to the families.

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