“The village flock brought a human hand” – the fourth year looking for dead soldiers in Donbass

– After the battle the dead lay 5 days. Then came the village and on their own they went to bury. With whole bodies been easier. Torn was collected in garbage bags. Put it in a pit and buried, says the correspondent Gazeta.ua major Victor Kolosov, head of search group “the Evacuation of 200”. The fourth deals with the search for the dead and missing.

Humanitarian project of the Armed Forces of Ukraine “200 Evacuation” began its existence in September 2014. Two years worked together with the Union “folk memory”. The group consists of two branches. Dead soldiers evacuated from the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk regions and transportyou to the place of burial.

What are the challenges facing humanitarian mission in your work?

Not enough time in the day does not stretch (smiles). Weekends and holidays we have. Still – stress. When they bring a guy 19 years old mother, throwing a tantrum. And all this negative aura falls on those who brought the deceased. The worst part was after Ilovaysk. Many families blame us for the death of relatives. A few months passed and the phone asked for forgiveness.

Who is in a search party?

Representatives of all branches of the armed forces are aviators, ground troops, people from the technical service. The specifics of the work affects the team. In order to get to us, need to take special courses Management civil-military cooperation. Taught in Kiev at the National defense University. After this the person undergoes a psychological test where determines its resistance to stress.

As you learn about the place of burial of the remains?

The information goes on television, meet with local authorities. People know where to turn. Now working in the area of Lugansk region – looking for victims in 2014. A local resident yesterday he called and gave information, the group has already left on this burial. The most difficult to find witnesses.

How many dead bodies can evacuate the mission at a time?

Enough technique in order to organize the export of 150 bodies per day. In 2016, for 3 months took out 100 people. When I was on rotation in the Disputed area on the border of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, in 4 days raised 18 phone There’s a whole mass grave was for 2014-2015. From 3 to 8 people. Several bodies were simply prikopat land. That’s the worst – they are starting to take away the wild beasts and dogs. In the village a pack of dogs dragged a human hand.

What happens to the bodies of soldiers after they dug up?

Take in the Dnieper, the office of forensic medical examination. Employees of bodies of internal Affairs or of health carried out a DNA examination. Takes up to two weeks. There is a family that 2014 doesn’t want to take the DNA material. I’m afraid to lose hope. This is followed by a consequence. When the boys are disappearing without a trace, relatives, written statement to the Prosecutor’s office about a missing person. And only then disposal.

We are engaged in the reburial of the remains. There are 3 cemetery where unknown soldiers. Kosovoska in Zaporozhye, Krasnopolskaya in the river and the cemetery in Starobilsk. Most unidentified in the river is 150. At first they were 372. In Starobilsk such 13. Have relatives who leave their children in this cemetery, some being taken home to bury.

Photo: Andrew Buzarov

During the search, cooperating with the representatives of the unrecognized republics?

We had 2 of the transfer of the remains of the bodies outside the control of the territory. We don’t know, it is the representatives of illegal armed formations or civil, but in the LC expressed a desire to receive their remains. From the other side also took away our children. In Luhansk just the person responsible for it. In DND the dead deals with the whole Department. Actively collaborated until 2017. Now in a slump, because the DNI has replaced the management team. Local changed in the Russian military. Those people who though there was something valuable anymore. And HR still.

“The evacuation of 200” does only search military APU?

No. There were guys from the volunteer battalions of the National guard. Even some civil wrong.

With the families of the victims work?

With each such family speak individually. Not one size fits all. Some need attention, others just the time to realize what happened. One wants not to be touched, left with grief alone.

There were cases when the body refused to pick up from the morgue and buried. People can’t accept the fact that their son, brother, husband, father is no longer alive. Before leaving for the front I have 8 of these families. Do not believe even DNA examination. The bodies of their relatives lying in the morgue of the Dnieper in 2015. Continue ourselves. One family at their own expense went into uncontrolled territory.

3 Oct 2014 the searchers of group “the evacuation of the 200” found the remains of Lieutenant, commander of a tank crew Artem Abramovich. With him in the grave turned out to be 2 comrade. October 11, Artem reburied in Zhytomyr.