“Nobody can say how many people were there. Even the cyborgs I frequently talk to just say: “we don’t know.” There were different units, different reports. Nobody knows how many people were in each unit. Some were injured, some ran, others were captured,” Yaroslav Zhylkin, head of The Black Tulips, a humanitarian mission searching and exhuming the remains of missing Ukrainian soldiers, explains to Hromadske. The mission has so far managed to recover the bodies of several hundred soldiers, some of whom have been identified through DNA testing, IDs or from identifying marks on their bodies. Nevertheless, the situation in Donetsk airport is more complex, and according to Zhylkin, requires “a complicated engineering operation” in order to sift through the huge piles of rubble that remain.
The First Battle of Donetsk Airport started on May, 26th, 2014. Approximately 200 Ukrainian soldiers were killed, 500 were wounded.
Yaroslav Zhylkin, head of The Black Tulips search mission was filmed in Donetsk in January 2016. The report was aired during Hromadske’s Sunday Show on January 31, 2016, in Kyiv.