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NewsThrough darkness and conflict: The unspoken horrors of Donbas

Through darkness and conflict: The unspoken horrors of Donbas

The most terrifying job in war. "90 percent of people are incapable of doing it"
The most terrifying job in war. "90 percent of people are incapable of doing it"
Images source: © Licensor | Maciej Stanik

3:45 AM EST, January 27, 2024

***

The rule is simple: avoid thinking.

Thinking brings consequences, and nobody knows this better than Taras.

He will share them later. For now, he focuses on the upcoming day. He always begins by addressing the one above. He only has one request:

"God, Please do not require me to carry my son or brother."

It's approaching 12 am Eastern Time. We stand by the road somewhere between Dnipro and Kramatorsk, enveloped in a darkness so thick that you could cut it with a knife.

Somewhere between Dnipro and Kramatorsk. In the darkness so thick, you can touch it.
Somewhere between Dnipro and Kramatorsk. In the darkness so thick, you can touch it.© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
The soldiers are transferring bodies from the transport vehicle to the morgue.
The soldiers are transferring bodies from the transport vehicle to the morgue.© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
Some soldiers brought the bodies of the fallen straight from the battlefield. Others came to see if there were no comrades from their units in the bags at the back of the morgue.
Some soldiers brought the bodies of the fallen straight from the battlefield. Others came to see if there were no comrades from their units in the bags at the back of the morgue.© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
You have to search the pockets of the killed. Sometimes identification is only possible if the soldier had documents with him.
You have to search the pockets of the killed. Sometimes identification is only possible if the soldier had documents with him.© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
Interior of the refrigerator car
Interior of the refrigerator car© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
One of the bodies found under Makijiwka
One of the bodies found under Makijiwka© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
The belongings of the deceased will be handed over to the family.
The belongings of the deceased will be handed over to the family.© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
The DNA test, confirming the soldier's identity, can take half a year, sometimes even longer.
The DNA test, confirming the soldier's identity, can take half a year, sometimes even longer.© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
"90 percent of people are not capable of doing this job"
"90 percent of people are not capable of doing this job"© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
In the Soviet Union, the transportation of fallen soldiers was referred to as "cargo 200". In the summer of 2022, it was decided to change the name to a reference of the Spartan battle cry: "Return with the shield or on the shield".
In the Soviet Union, the transportation of fallen soldiers was referred to as "cargo 200". In the summer of 2022, it was decided to change the name to a reference of the Spartan battle cry: "Return with the shield or on the shield".© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
Dasza (holding a stretcher) comes to the morgue in Dnipro every day to help unload bodies.
Dasza (holding a stretcher) comes to the morgue in Dnipro every day to help unload bodies.© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
Andrij, a volunteer from Lutsk. He organized a service in his city that deals with the transport of fallen bodies.
Andrij, a volunteer from Lutsk. He organized a service in his city that deals with the transport of fallen bodies.© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
"Someday this war will end. Who will rebuild the country? 50-year-olds?"
"Someday this war will end. Who will rebuild the country? 50-year-olds?"© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
Krasnopilsky Cemetery in Dnipro
Krasnopilsky Cemetery in Dnipro© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
The woman pays tribute to the fallen.
The woman pays tribute to the fallen.© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
Collection of patches with symbols of brigades and battalions
Collection of patches with symbols of brigades and battalions© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
From 2022, the cemetery has been expanding in an uncontrolled manner.
From 2022, the cemetery has been expanding in an uncontrolled manner.© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
Looking at the personal items of the deceased, one can imagine what kind of person they were.
Looking at the personal items of the deceased, one can imagine what kind of person they were.© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
Taras is handing over the body, documents, and a small bag with personal belongings.
Taras is handing over the body, documents, and a small bag with personal belongings.© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
Pick up of the fallen soldier's body in front of the morgue in Łuck.
Pick up of the fallen soldier's body in front of the morgue in Łuck.© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
Soldiers are used to funerals.
Soldiers are used to funerals.© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
Mykoła was 28 years old.
Mykoła was 28 years old.© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
  • Łuck, the city has frozen over.
  • "On the Shield"
  • Paying tribute to the fallen
  • "One of the volunteers in Lutsk"
  • Children kneel at the sight of a funeral procession.
  • Łuck, women pay tribute to fallen soldiers
  • Mykola's Funeral
  • Cars are pulling over to the side of the road, and people are kneeling down.
  • Officials stop their work and line up along the road, where the procession is arriving.
  • Łuck, passersby pay tribute to those who fell on the front line.
  • Farewell to the fallen soldiers in Lutsk
  • On the Shield
  • The volunteers want the entire city to remember the fallen with a minute of silence every day at 9:00 am.
  • People kneel at the sight of a funeral procession with the body of a soldier who fell in the fight for a free Ukraine.
  • Road workers in Łuck pay tribute to the fallen.
[1/15] Łuck, the city has frozen over.Images source: © Licensor | Maciej Stanik
Grandma says goodbye to Mykoła.
Grandma says goodbye to Mykoła.© Licensor | Maciej Stanik
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