To identify and return

Since the beginning of the antiterrorist operation there have been found and evacuated 215 bodies and the remains of the deceased.

Since the beginning of the antiterrorist operation on the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, by search groups of the humanitarian project of the Armed Forces of Ukraine “EVACUATION 200” which has in its staff  volunteer-searchers of NGO “Union “People's Memory” (“Black Tulip” humanitarian mission) were found and evacuated from the territory controlled by the illegal armed groups 215 bodies and remains of the deceased servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, other military formations and law enforcement agencies. 

For the period from September 2014 till present in the framework of the humanitarian project of the Armed Forces of Ukraine “EVACUATION 200” from the area of the antiterrorist operation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions by search groups under the overall coordination of the Department of investigative work of the Office of civil-military cooperation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, evacuated the bodies and the remains of more than 870 deceased soldiers. Despite the limited possibility of access to the temporarily occupied territory, the work of  “EVACUATION 200” humanitarian project does not stop, after all, there is the main goal – to find, identify, and return. 

The war which broke into our lives more than two years ago has become an integral part of existence for almost everyone in our state. During this period, many things have changed. The changes touched upon even what at first glance is considered inviolable – usual worldview, but already with the revaluation of common values. 

For our generation a war was something very distant and obscure: the silent obelisks with immortalized names of the deceased and words from the participants of those events about value of peace and the pricelessness of life of every person. History tends to repeat itself, especially, when they forget about it or start to rewrite it. 

In 2014, the disaster, called an undeclared war, knocked on our door. It broke into our lives and such distant concepts as persons born in time of war, front, combative, non-combative, sanitary losses, prisoners of war, the missing and “Cargo 200” confidently entered our lexicon and everyday life. Every armed conflict and war is followed by victims, whether civilian or military. And yet their status for present is deceased and identified and therefore buried in his native land; deceased and not identified or unknown with a number - deprived of his name and further right for returning from obscurity. 

There is nothing worse than obscurity and expectations without the right for a reasonable hope. The unknown have their names too and those who disappeared have their places of residence. 

There is an incredible number of stories when a family searches for its father, son, brother. Each of them still hopes that HE will be found, that today or tomorrow the telephone will ring and in the handset one will hear a native voice and the long-awaited words: “I am alive!”  

They are waiting and for the most of them this waiting becomes a psychological trauma when consciousness mistakes the wish for the reality, when they perceive a word DNA profile with incredible horror, as well as with a complete negation the results of this examination. In this situation, time does not heal, it rather intensifies the trauma and exacerbates the problem of perception. 

Complete access blockage to the temporarily occupied territory and an artificially suspended official process from the side of LDPR on matters of search and discovery of possible places of burial sets wondering because among those who have not been found yet there are their representatives too. A logical question arises: “Why those who are so "concerned" about the welfare of Donbass and its inhabitants, do not care about their deceased soldiers?” There is no answer, just silence which has been lasting for 7 months, a period of incomprehensible undeclared ban. 

At present, because of these processes, there is no real possibility of evacuation, identification and return home of the deceased soldiers, in addition to that, because of all this, there has slowed down the process of identifying by DNA profile those who are buried as Unknown Defenders of Ukraine. 

Today at Krasnopol'ye cemetery there are still 127 such unknown soldiers, the remains of other 11 are at the morgue of Dnepr city in connection with taking measures for their identification. To visually recognize them is impossible, there are not yet coincidences with relatives by DNA profile in the single database, therefore there is no possibility of comparison with probable relatives from both sides. 

Although the process slowed down, but did not stop because requests for search of the missing are continually coming in, besides, from both sides. Thankfully to painstaking, well-cooperated and impartial actions of these professionals, one more Unknown soldier from Krasnopol'ye cemetery was returned his name. 

She has been looking for her son for two years.  That 31-year-old Alexandr had gone to fight for DPR, she found out ex post from a short conversation on the phone. In September, 2014 was her last conversation with her son. Already later she found out that he had deceased during the fight near Luhansk. Further expertise confirmed that her son was buried in Dnepr. Such is the paradox of the war, among buried Unknowns who are not identified yet, besides, our defenders, there are also the representatives of self-proclaimed republics. 

The task of everyone of us, all the sides of the undeclared war is understanding and acceptance of the main law of war or any other armed conflict is that among the deceased there are no enemies and can not be. There is nothing, but sorrow of close people from the loss of a dear person, the remains of whom it is necessary to return home to his native land, where will be a place for grief and if it is necessary, forgiveness. Perhaps, this is what is called humanity in the war, when the dead are not forgotten, but on the contrary, identified and returned home. 

Unfortunately, the work of military and civilian researchers in the framework of humanitarian project of the Armed Forces of Ukraine “EVACUATION 200” (“Black Tulip” humanitarian mission) is not reducing, but, nevertheless, they are always ready both mentally and physically for this difficult, stressful, and extremely necessary process. Their main mission is to find and raise everybody, to return the name to each of them and give their relatives an opportunity to bury their father, son or brother in his native land where they find long-awaited eternal rest no matter where it is. 

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