Ukraine blocks issue of search for missing persons – Daria Morozova

Comments and statements of the Ombudsman Events News

As a result of armed conflict started by Ukraine in Donbass, a large number of people lost their lives or went missing since 2014. Today, February 21, an extended meeting was held on this issue in the Republican Bureau of Forensic Medicine of the Ministry of Health of the DPR. As reported by the correspondent of the official website of the DPR, the following officials took part in the meeting: Ombudsman Daria Morozova, Director of the Forensic Bureau Dmitry Kalashnikov, Chairperson of the public organization “Soyuz materei propavshih bez vesti synovei” (Union of Mothers of Missing Sons) Olga Simonova, representatives of the ICRC, OSCE and the UN. At the meeting, Dmitry Kalashnikov told that an extensive database of biological material of unidentified bodies has been created. Thus, relatives of missing persons can take a DNA test free of charge at the Republican Bureau of Forensic Medicine.

“In the territory of the DPR, we examined more than 4,700 bodies, of which more than 400 were unidentified. Relatives of the missing can contact us. We will accept a written application, take biological material (blood), and conduct a survey of relatives about the alleged place where the person went missing, distinguishing marks, etc. It is necessary that relatives of the missing come to us so that we could exclude at least some persons from the list of missing – DNA of some of them might be found in our database, unfortunately. All unidentified bodies have been buried, all graves have been assigned a number. We have only stored biological material since 2014, most of this material has been genotyped. I also want to inform the residents of the LPR that we are also ready to accept them and make a DNA test. Our laboratory equipment allows us to perform analyses of 1st generation relatives – mother, father and a child,” said Dmitry Kalashnikov.

According to Daria Morozova, the issue of identification of bodies has been raised multiple times at Minsk negotiations, although the Ukrainian side by all means avoids the discussion of this issue.

“It is extremely important to invite representatives of international organizations to events like this, because 5 years have passed since the beginning of the armed conflict. Thus, international organizations no longer have any moral or physical right to turn a blind eye to such important aspects. This problem needs to be resolved,” Daria Morozova emphasized.