The war front has moved to the east and south of Ukraine, but in the north of kyiv the wound left by the fighting is still bleeding and the government of Volodímir Zelensky demands justice for the abuses committed by the Russians. Local and international forensic teams from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands or France work to identify bodies in cities such as Bucha and Irpin, while a month and a half after the weapons fell silent, there are funerals in their cemeteries every day. Authorities accuse Moscow of committing war crimes and take two steps forward by announcing the first trial of a Kremlin soldier and getting the UN Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution to launch investigations.
These processes are usually long and the office of the attorney general, Iryna Venediktova, announced yesterday that everything is ready to launch the process against Vadim Shishimarin, 21, accused of killing an unarmed 62-year-old civilian, whom he shot from the window of his car on the northern front of kyiv. The events occurred on February 28 when Shishimarin and four other companions stole a car on the outskirts of Chupakhivka, according to the statement from the Prosecutor’s Office. From that vehicle, the young Russian soldier would have shot the citizen, who was shot just a few meters from his house. He faces a life sentence. Venediktova’s office has received reports of more than 10,000 suspected war crimes, with 622 suspects identified.
In the morgue of Bucha, a town north of kyiv sadly famous for the bodies that appeared dumped in its streets after the liberation, relatives line up. They wait their turn to identify their loved ones and then take them to the cemetery for a burial. The bodies are kept in large refrigerated trucks parked in the back.
Ludmila, 55, waits for forensic teams to hand over her son. When the war broke out she left the country seeking refuge in the Czech Republic and has just returned to Bucha. “Danilo was 35 years old and was shot to death just one day before the retreat. The neighbors buried him in the garden, but later the police exhumed his body and brought it to the morgue », says the mother with integrity. In her hand she carries an official document on the death of Danilo, the deceased number 346, according to the count of the authorities.
Thanks to Telegram
This family, like almost all, has managed to locate their loved ones thanks to Telegram channels that are especially open to sharing information about the disappeared. They sent them photographs of the body and contacted the Police to confirm that it was the person they were looking for.
After waiting an hour, the forensic experts give Ludmila permission to go to the refrigerated truck. When the door opens, a stench of rotting bodies takes over the area and the operator covers his mouth and nose with his hand. Ludmila remains firm. Bag 346’s zipper slides and her mother peeks out.
-“Da” (yes)-, is all he says.
The zipper clicks again and in a minute the body of the young man is already in a coffin on the way to the cemetery. The municipality of Bucha bears all the costs of the burial.
The race of justice. The Prosecutor’s Office has received reports that have allowed the identification of 622 suspects
Hard task. Local and international forensic teams work to identify bodies in Bucha and Irpín
Sasha, 57, is also waiting for the remains of her older brother, Sergei, to be handed over to her. «His house was hit by a projectile and was destroyed. The Russians took his body and that of other neighbors to a nearby forest and there we found them. I was only able to recognize him by a tattoo on his arm, nothing else », says Sasha, who wants to finish the paperwork as soon as possible to be able to hold the funeral and reassure her 85-year-old mother. “Now he has made up his mind that she has died, but I will never tell him the state of her body,” she says between cigarettes.
Outside the morgue, Bucha gives an image of apparent normality. The dozens of charred skeletons of tanks and armored vehicles have been removed from the vicinity of the station and on Yablonska Street the residents walk along the sidewalks on which the occupation left dozens of bodies lying. Life returns, but Ukraine does not forget and asks for justice.