in kyiv, the difficult identification of civilians found dead after the departure of russian troops

More than 1,200 people were found dead in the kyiv region (Ukraine) after the withdrawal of the Russian army. For both families and coroners, the long work of identification is painful.

Article written by

Thibault Lefèvre and Benjamin Thuau – edited by Clémentine Vergnaud


french radio



Time to read : 1 minute.

In one of the two funeral homes in Kyiv (Ukraine), two coffins are next to each other. “My father-in-law was named Volodymyr Tcherednitchenko and my mother-in-law Nadia Miakouchka”, explains Artem, alone in front of the two coffins. Like them, 1,220 people were found dead in the kyiv region after the withdrawal of Russian troops, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General announced on Sunday, April 10, almost two weeks after the departure of the soldiers. The balance will undoubtedly increase in the coming days because the families continue to search for their loved ones and the identification of the victims continues.

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With her eyes frozen, her sobs contained, Ertem came to recognize the bodies of her in-laws. “We found out that they had been murdered on March 24. We looked for them in all the morgues and then we found out they were here”, he says. The funeral takes place in the afternoon in Irpin, one of the occupied cities in the kyiv suburbs most affected by the fighting.

“My in-laws didn’t want to leave because my father-in-law had a sore foot. A tank fired on their house. They ran out and killed them with automatic weapons. The bodies were left in front of their house.”

Artem, Ukrainian whose in-laws died

in 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 kyiv. The identification work is methodical. “We use DNA fingerprints, fingerprints and look if there are any particular traces, like tattoos or scars”explains Vadim, medical examiner.

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

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