On 18 August 18, in Luhansk, the Agreement on Interaction, Cooperation and Exchange of Information Between Special Interdepartmental Bodies of the DPR and LPR for the Search for the Missing Persons as a Result of the Armed Aggression of Ukraine in the Donbass was signed.
The relevant document was signed by Daria Morozova, Human Rights Ombudsman in the DPR, Chairperson of the Interdepartmental Commission for the Search for Missing Persons, Burial Places of Bodies (remains) of the Deceased (dead) in Areas of the Armed Conflict in Donbass and Anna Soroka, First Deputy Minister Foreign Affairs of the LPR, Head of the Interdepartmental Working Group on the search for the graves of victims of Ukrainian aggression, their identification and perpetuation of memory.
As Daria Morozova noted, having concluded the Agreement on cooperation, the Republics of Donbass at the official level announced the unification of efforts in the most important areas of the humanitarian ones.
“The disappearance of people is one of the horrific consequences of the armed aggression of Ukraine in Donbass. Since 2014, in the course of the search activities on the territory of the DPR alone, about 130 burial places of missing persons have been discovered. 253 people were found deceased. At the moment, the whereabouts of another 354 people remain unknown, said the DPR Ombudsman. It is important to have proper view of the announced figures. They are not just statistics. These are hundreds of human tragedies. And we are obliged to sort them out in order to restore justice, perpetuate the memory of the victims, alleviate the suffering of the relatives of the victims of the Ukrainian aggression and bring the perpetrators to justice. Exchange of information, experience, skills, technologies – all this will increase the effectiveness and efficiency of measures aimed at establishing the fate of people who disappeared in zones of the conflict in Donbass.”
Daria Morozova also informed those present about the holding of the first exhumation events in the DPR as part of the activities of the Interdepartmental Commission. “From now on, the search and exhumation group has begun to recover the remains of the victims of Ukrainian aggression from unmarked graves on the territory of the cemetery in the village Ovsyanoye in the city of Snezhnoye. Mass graves appeared here in the summer of 2014, when Ukrainian troops targeted the city and its neighbourhoods. In those conditions, it was simply impossible to document death. The survivors buried those killed on their own under the incessant sound of guns. People often did not even know the name of the one who was buried,” she stressed.
Presumably, more than 50 civilians are buried in these graves. The recovery will take place in stages. The exhumed remains will be transferred to the Republican Bureau of Forensic Medical Examination for DNA diagnostics. In the future, the obtained samples will be compared with the genetic data of the relatives of the missing persons.
It should be noted that the identification of the remains of the victims of the Ukrainian aggression is one of the key areas of cooperation stipulated by the Agreement between the Special Interdepartmental Bodies of the DPR and LPR. In particular, the parties will interact in the selection of biological samples from the alleged relatives of the deceased and in the providing of molecular-genetic expertises.
In this regard, Dmitry Kalashnikov, Head of the Republican Bureau of Forensic Medical Examination of the DPR Ministry of Health, and Boris Kamotsky, Head of the Bureau of Forensic Medicine of the LPR, also took part in the event on the occasion of the signing of the Agreement. During the meeting, experts discussed ways to address the priority tasks in the field of DNA research of the remains of the victims of Ukrainian aggression in Donbass.