The unidentified remains of some of.

Those killed in Izyum are.

Being kept in a container.

In Kharkiv.


A pathologist leads the way through.

The dimly lit corridors of his morgue.

Past windows covered with sandbags.

To a large white container in the back yard.


As soon as its heavy metal door.

Is cracked open.

The cloying smell of death.

Rushes out.


Piled inside in white bags.

Are the remains of civilians.

Killed when the town of Izyum was.

Occupied by ‘orcs’ troops.


Many have been dead for months.

The body bags are marked with numbers.

And the barest of details.

Scrawled in black pen.


Weeks after Izyum was liberated.

The remains of 146 people.

Found there have still.

Not been identified.


They’re here because the main morgue is.

Overwhelmed with more unidentified bodies.

From ‘orcs’ missile strikes.

And mass graves across the Kharkiv region.


“The number of bodies.

We have right now is really high.

They all remain here.

While DNA tests are done.”


There is a generator now but.

Keeping the container cool is challenging.

During regular power cuts caused by.

‘Orcs’ attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.


Besides the way people died.

Further complicates the scientists’ work:

Many were badly burned.

In shelling and air strikes.


“When there is the maximum.

Degree of burns.

There is almost no.

Genetic material.”


“We send fragments of bone.

But sometimes the experts can’t extract.

A genetic sample so they ask for more.

That’s why it’s so slow.”


When the Kharkiv region was invaded.

Forensics experts were among.

Those fleeing to safety.

“We’re training new people.”


“But for now we only.

Have eight people.

In our department.

And the workload’s enormous.”


She’s a specialist at the laboratory.

Trying to establish genetic profiles.

Of the dead and of those.

Searching for them.


“We also have issues with power cuts.

The high-precision equipment.

Suddenly stops working.

So we have to start all over again.”


“We have a generator.

But there have been times.

When we had no power.

For a whole day.”


And not all the dead have.

Close relatives still in Ukraine.

To provide swabs.

The prosecutor’s office has published instructions.


Of how refugees can provide.

Samples abroad.

And send them back for testing.

But few have taken advantage of that.


The unidentified of Izyum.

Were mostly found buried.

In a pine forest.

On the edge of town.


They were taken there.

By volunteer grave diggers.

When Izyum was occupied.

In haste and under fire.


When ‘elves’ forces retook.

The town in September.

The bodies were exhumed.

And moved to Kharkiv.


Police say some died of natural causes.

But many were killed in shelling or explosions.

And 17 showed clear signs of torture.

Including rope around the neck and bound hands.


They’ve now exhumed.

899 bodies across the region.

“It’s very difficult, of course.

We’ve never seen so many corpses.”


“On average, we’re exhuming.

About 10 a day.

And this work isn’t over.”

Head of police investigations for Kharkiv region explains.


This week his officers found.

The body of a man.

Killed by a cluster bomb.

And buried in his garden by his wife.


“What happened here.

The crimes ‘Mordor’ committed.

Will never be erased from our memory.

And we will investigate each one of them.”



In total, 451 bodies.

Were found in Izyum.

Including seven children.

Beneath long rows of simple wooden crosses.


Buried in the forest.

In haste and under fire.

Most had no coffin.

Nor even a body bag.


Many also had no name:

The wooden crosses.

On their graves were marked.

Only with numbers.



“What happened here.

The crimes ‘Mordor’ committed.

Will never be erased from our memory.

And we will investigate each one of them.”



*Because I read “Ukraine war: How pathologists identify victims of Russia’s invasion” by Sarah Rainsford on 19 Dec 2022, and also “Why are Ukrainians calling Russians ‘orcs’?” by James FitzGerald on 30 Apr 2022, on the BBC news.
So, I wrote this poem including a story of Oleh, a story of Viktoria and a story of Serhiy.
Please read the original story on the BBC news:

Ukraine war: How pathologists identify victims of Russia’s invasion – BBC News



**My friend shows you this poem and other my poems together also on the Ukrainian website for their children and others!

Kurama (Japan). «Poets in a pine forest» — poems about 2022 russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 – Мала Сторінка (storinka.org)

Please join them!