Ukraine returns bodies of 19 more of its soldiers
16 August, 2022

Ukraine returned another 19 of its fallen defenders as part of another operation to transfer the bodies of killed soldiers, reported the Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine.

The department says that the process of returning the bodies takes place in accordance with the norms of the Geneva Convention. The operation was organized with the cooperation of the Commissioner for Missing Persons Oleh Kotenko and a number of law enforcement agencies of Ukraine.

Return of the fallen defenders

In early July, Iryna Vereshchuk, the Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories, announced that since February 24, Ukraine has managed to return the bodies of more than 400 dead servicemen. She noted that there are many more bodies, but Russia does not want to show its citizens a mass transfer of the dead.

However, after that, the process of returning the bodies continued. For example, on July 12, Ukraine returned 30 dead, on July 19 — 45, and on July 26 — another 25. On August 9, Ukraine returned the bodies of 17 more of its defenders, and the next day, the bodies of 16 more Mariupol defenders arrived in Kyiv.

Ukraine carries out identification and genetic examination of the dead according to European protocols, while Russia does not support them and has its own protocols.

Norms of the Geneva Convention

It states that dead prisoners of war should be buried in separate graves, unless unavoidable circumstances force them to be buried in a mass grave.

The body is cremated only for urgent hygiene needs, taking into account the religion of the deceased or according to the expressed wishes of the deceased in this regard. In the case of cremation, this fact is noted in the death certificate along with an explanation of the reasons.

To ensure that graves can always be found, all facts and burial places are recorded by the Graves Registration Service, created by the state that held the people captive. Lists of places of burial and data on prisoners of war buried in cemeteries and other places are transferred to the state on which they depended. Responsibility for the care of graves and for the registration of all subsequent movements of bodies rests with the State controlling the territory, if it is a party to the Convention.

These provisions also apply to ashes: the Graves Registration Service must keep them until the fate of the remains is decided in accordance with the wishes of the homeland of the prisoners of war.