Inside the Iisium Wood Abyss –

Inside the Iisium Wood Abyss –
From Francesco Battistini

It is the largest mass grave discovered in Europe since the time of Srebrenica: among the 445 are also the bodies of children

If this man is dead. The body is disassembled and folded into a kind of thema pile of muddy and faded rags to wrap it up, rope around the neck. They lift it in half from the dirt of fat wood and slowly, be careful, you have to be meticulous in dealing with these buried subjects. And they are more fragile than the souls they contained. Who carry facts so heavy on their tender bones. Doctor Vitaly Kravchenko He is a retired medical examiner. They called him for help at the mass grave mortuary, and he’s a huge guy. But when he kneels on this piece of cloth, he becomes as small as the rest of us. Also bent, under the banality of a colossal evil. Take off his mask and in disgust: He had been digging for three days and now he could not distinguish between the fresh smell of pine and the stench of corpses.. “I’ve never seen so many and all of them together…”. He cleans the dirt with his hands, apparently caressing the dead. Try to find a face that no longer exists. A document in his pockets, a ring on his fingers, something you know. Any thing. All that remains is the white body bag and the black marker, to give the only possible identification: 321.

Smell and silence

They take us en masse, to be sure to believe. Journalists and judges. President’s Medal Volodymyr Zelensky Who wants a thousand and a thousand witnesses in the face of war crimes committed by the retreating Russians. The secret of the Izium Forest was no longer a secret. The Ukrainians say this is a powerful weapon that may not bring Putin to the Hague Tribunal, but some of his superiors will. to me Bucha He pretended everything was fake, Irvine it’s at Mariupol He’s also denied the truth, but Ezeum has made a horror show that invests you once you’re in the woods, a guide that doesn’t require videos or satellite images to sift through: In the silence of the pine forest, only the stench of 445 bodies was found, and others who know where. The largest mass graves discovered in Europe since the Srebrenica and Balkan wars. The corpse found on a gallows says that “99% are not those who died in conditions of war”.it’s safe Ole Kotenkocharged with investigating the disappeared in recent months: “There are a lot of bodies signs of violencewe discovered some with Hands tied behind the back. Even several children. In Izyum and in the villages of the Kharkiv region there were 10 torture rooms“.

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Everything is carefully checked, because Eighty percent of the buildings in the area have been destroyed The other twenty are often mined. Survivors say they were beaten and electrocuted. “They didn’t bury me in the woods just because they ran away early,” says Maxim, who is wearing a T-shirt with the inscription on it. Unleash the beastunleashes the beast, not knowing that he has seen it so wild: “Keep me in a vault. One day I fainted. I was sure I would die“.

Detective Kotenko promises that «we will go to the bottom, there will be too UN teamto understand how many bodies have gone through this violence.” He adds that certainty is that there are other mass graves around. The Russians did nothing to hide the huddled corpses: In Srebrenica, for example, Serbs were dismembered and scattered throughout Bosnia (so many victims, even today, are not identified…). This is why Izyum risks entering the geography of Katyn, Bergen-Belsen, abandoned historical slaughterhouses for the horror of memory. On the main street and even the square in front of surreal neon I love Iseum written in Cyrillic, There is not even a healthy wall. Nearby, only old people line up at midday for bread and humanitarian aid: “I don’t care if they bring Putin to The Hague – shouts Ivan, 83 -. I’d like to know if I’ll find bread tomorrow! ». He does not even care that the Russians destroyed the Technical Institute in Izyum, a small brutal monument that in the time of the Soviet Union taught the young Zhukov, the indomitable and most faithful Marshal of Stalin, (in mutilation, on the facade) in the municipal cinema, the men of “Z” left a show Nazi black and white): “I have lived many lives – says Evan – but I did not expect this end.”

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Collaborators with scoops

The largest mass grave, about seventy bodies and several soldiers, is just to the right. It is mined everywhereAnd every 5 minutes there is a rumble in the silence of the forest. The drilling team dressed in blue plastic is exhausted: “We work 72 hours a day – Ihor, 26, says a few Italian words because of his studies in Catania – it’s the worst job that could happen. But many of us are volunteers, We don’t get a penny. We know watching this crap is essential“. there 200 wooden crosses. Some of them bear the name: Novikov Yakiv Gennadyuvin, born in 1976 … And many of them have the number: Unknown 93, Unknown 94 … Graves were not only dug by Russians, Izyum said: “ Fifty collaborators with shovels“. All the people have fled across the border, now that this east is reoccupied. It was natural that they chose the forest,” says a man in the shirt of the Russian Navy, who lost his wife: A few meters from the city cemeteryHe points out that the dead of Izium always placed themselves here. But who said they are only tortured underground? “We will make the DNA of all the bodies – the Kharkiv governor, Ole Senhopov promised – and compare it with the missing persons.”

A little further away, there is a small cemetery of cansThe. The only coordinator. The only one not trampled by the Russians, and full of flowers. Only at the end of the visit on the loose mounds of earth, among shovels and masks, does anyone remember her. 445 dead like dogs, buried unknown, no funeral until the investigation is complete. A woman brings a bouquet of soaked and inverted sunflowers. He puts them in the deepest pits. They have no fragrance. And they do not erase the smell of shame.

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Sep 16, 2022 (change on Sep 16, 2022 | 23:27)

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