30 kilometers west of kyiv, Boutcha was a quiet town of 37,000 inhabitants. Its new neighborhoods tried to attract the middle and upper classes. After a month of Russian bombing, in the largely destroyed city, at least three hundred victims were counted. But the macabre discoveries are not over. Dozens of corpses are found every day, like charred remains in the basement of a house hit by a shell. The urgency now is to identify them.
Serhii Kaplychny, the head of the funeral services, was in charge of recovering these remains which the Russian soldiers prohibited from approaching. At the cemetery, where a team of “Special Envoy” joined him, the body bags arrive without stopping. That day, they contain the bodies of fifty-three men, four women, and a teenager. Among them, that of a man on a bicycle shot dead in Yablonska Street – an image that shocked the whole world. Like him, many were shot dead.
“A little further on, on a road, an armored vehicle strafed three cars. In the first, there was a grandpa and a grandma. In another, a mother with her 14-year-old son. He was a sportsman. He had his medals, his school notebooks with him.”Serhii Kaplychny, Head of Boutcha Funeral Services
in “Special Envoy”
Helped by his teams and police officers, Serhii Kaplychny is looking for papers that would allow the victims to be given their names again. Some had them on them; others, in this small town, are part of his acquaintances. “I don’t understand how people can do such things. Why ? he breathes. These people who did this speak the same language as us, or in any case, a language that we understand, and we considered them a friendly people, until recently. It’s unimaginable.”
Extract from “In the hell of Boutcha”, a report to see in “Special Envoy” on April 14, 2022.
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