Home Politics From DNA samples to children’s drawings. How Ukraine is trying to identify some of those lost in war

From DNA samples to children’s drawings. How Ukraine is trying to identify some of those lost in war

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“Of course, it’s hard. But this is not an ordinary job. It is a desire to help,” said Olena Tolkachova, chief of family services for the Azov Regiment.

Kyiv, Ukraine (CNN) Outside an already overwhelmed morgue in Kyiv, morticians swing open the back door of a refrigerated truck, and the heavy stench of death fills the air.Dressed in full protective suits and masks they lower body bags, one by one, onto gurneys and roll them inside. Investigators stand back, clipboards in hand, waiting to start their grueling work.Inside each bag is a “John Doe,” a person whose remains have been left in the ruins of war for weeks and are so badly decomposed that they are unrecognizable.

Thousands of Ukraine’s war dead are unidentified. Police, soldiers, investigators, morticians and forensic experts — desperate to return remains to loved ones — are working tirelessly to find out who they are, so their bodies can be laid properly to rest.In most cases, only DNA analysis can provide the answers needed.

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