A small team of Ukrainian volunteers that BFMTV was able to track through the forest on the border of Izioum in the northeastern part of the country on Wednesday. Their mission: to retrieve the corpses left behind by the war, and it doesn’t matter if they are Ukrainian or Russian.
But they do not hold the latter, but send them to the opposite camp against the remnants of their compatriots who fell under enemy fire and remained in their hands.
Izioum, an infamous name
Izium. The name of this city, which had a population of less than 50,000 before the war, is no longer known to observers as the Russian occupation has stripped it of its anonymity. It was the scene of many battles first: the Russians took it around March 24, then on September 11 the Ukrainians expelled them.
The following September 16, the local reputation became even more tragic when the mass graves of nearly 500 Russian victims buried in mass graves were discovered.
The bodies sought by volunteers are not buried. They lie as the war reaps them. Helmets on their heads, bulletproof vests on their chests, they proceed cautiously in front of the cameras, as the front is not far away and the forest they are investigating has not been cleared.
“We are careful because our lives depend on it, but also so that the body remains intact and we can send it back to Russia,” explains Oleksey, one of these men.
“We have to show that we are human”
They soon find a body. This was the 205th Russian soldier they rescued in nine months. However, they apply a rigorous procedure before handing it over. We freeze the scene immediately: we surround ourselves with tape, like agents waiting for the scientific police at a crime scene. Then, again cautiously, the team members lie down for “ten seconds” – per Oleksey’s command – before removing the body to avoid taking any risks.
It must be said that Oleksey knows the roadmap very well. One of the “funeral of Izioum” and unrest against separatists since 2014.
“Even in this case, we have to show that we are human. We do not fight the dead! We always take the same attitude regardless of the nationality of the corpses,” he explains.
According to him, it is an attitude that contradicts the attitude of the invader. “Most of the time they don’t care about the dead. They don’t need it, it’s just material. And that way their families won’t have any compensation: they’re just going to ‘disappear'”, he leaves.
another ten years
The number of corpses left in the forest seems to justify it: Oleksey and his family have dug a dozen graves in this forest alone. However, the person they discovered in front of our cameras has an identity.
“There is a military card in the inside pocket: Igor Vladimirovich, born in 1966,” says Oleksey. And thanks to this “Igor Vladimirovitch” volunteers return to the Russians in exchange for the remains of Ukrainian citizens.
This undertaker’s job is a laborious one. Oleksey thinks it will take another ten years. For him, everything is clear, he will continue as long as necessary. After all, he had chosen this life eight years ago.
Original article published on BFMTV.com
Source From: Google News