In his entire life investigating murders, Serhii Luzhetskyi has never seen so many corpses. As the district attorney specializing in forensic homicide investigations, he should be used to it. But the death of this war is on a different scale.
He points to a stack of 35 black sacks, each containing someone killed Russian Soldiers during their occupation of the towns and villages around Kyiv.
“People should know that this is genocide,” he said. “A lot of people in Europe deny that. You have to know that this is genocide.”
His comments were indicative of Emmanuel Macron‘s rejection of the term, just hours after Joe Biden, the US President, said Moscow was trying to “wipe out the Ukrainians”.
The French president said the West should be “careful” with such terms.
But for those who work at the city morgue in Bila Tserkva, 80km south of Kyiv, the atrocities committed by the Russian state are plain to see, with most of the bodies showing evidence they were bound before execution.
“Another 15 bodies are expected today,” said Ihor Maksymchenko, head of the local forensic medical examination department. “This is not the end. The bodies will keep coming.”
Mr. Maksymchenko and Mr. Luzhetskyi had just finished examining two bodies. Both were men. Both had been shot. one in mind. The other in his chest.
Volodymyr Maistrenko (80) was buried in a shallow grave after his death.
Mr. Maksymchenko knew this because his face was still caked with mud.
Mr Maistrenko’s body was not as badly decomposed as that of Andrii Kostetskyi, 51, who had been shot in the head. That meant he would most likely have to rot in the streets after being murdered.
“It was good that it was cold and good that there was so much [the bodies] were in the ground,” said Mr. Maksymchenko, explaining that the weather had somewhat preserved the bodies of the victims. “Those that weren’t in the ground were partially eaten by dogs.”
In a typical pre-war month, Mr Maksymchenko said he would inspect about 80 bodies. But in the last 10 days alone, he’s been getting more than that.
So far, their ages have ranged from 15 to 80 years. The vast majority is male and comes from Bucha.
Previously, his work had mainly dealt with deaths from natural causes, he explained.
“Now almost all the bodies have been killed because of the war.”
Throughout the war, Mr. Maksymchenko saw mostly shooting victims. Some were killed by explosions and a smaller number by rocket attacks.
Those who were shot have different injuries.
Some were shot in the head at close range. Others were shot multiple times all over their bodies.
However, there is a pattern that Mr. Maksymchenko observed during his autopsies.
“Their arms and legs were tied behind them,” he said. “Then they were shot.”
Since the beginning of the war, his team has worked from morning to night.
“I can’t yet tell the magnitude of what we’re seeing now because it’s only just begun,” he said. “But it’s nothing like normal life.”
While Mr Maksymchenko’s job revolves around death, this war has made him more political.
“I really don’t like Russians. I call them butchers,” he said.
Mr Maksymchenko’s son is currently stationed with the army in Kyiv, so not only is he grappling with an increased death toll, but he is also worried about what will become of his child.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said. “The war goes on.”
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/people-should-know-this-is-genocide-a-lot-of-people-in-europe-are-denying-it-41558227.html “People should know that this is genocide. Many people in Europe deny it.