Kyivians prevented from burying their dead amid continuous Russian assaults on Ukrainian capital

27 February, 05:18 PM
Kyiv crematorium (Photo:NV)

Kyiv crematorium (Photo:NV)

Lesya Fedorenko, the owner of the private burial service “Angels on Duty”, has not had any easy time of things over the past four days. The Russian invasion of Ukraine brought with it non-stop Russian attacks against Kyiv, rendering travel around the city incredibly perilous as a result. Fedorenko’s attempts to give Ukrainians a proper send-off has been similarly impacted.

“Currently, there are six bodies are waiting for me on the left bank. And I can’t come to get them cremated as the bridges are blocked and the curfew is still going on until Monday,” Fedorenko told NV, crying.

“People keep calling me. Their elderly family members died of chronic diseases during these hard days of war. But because of the active combat actions and saboteurs, no one is coming to take the bodies, so people have to stay in the same apartments with their dead loved ones.”

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During the first days of the war, Fedorenko said, most of the morgues across the city stopped working. Only the central crematorium on the right bank of Kyiv has been taking bodies, but in order for it to receive the deceased, the family or burial service needs a death certificate.

“The only place you can get one is located on the right bank,”she explained.

“And the bodies are on the left bank. So I needed to travel back and forth in my car to help those poor people settle things with their paperwork. But then I ran out of gas and the authorities blocked the bridges. Because of the Russian attacks on the city, I could not help those people.”

One of them is Tamara Malyzheva, 76, who lost her brother Viktor on Feb. 25. She called Fedorenko, crying for help. While they were able to get the paperwork done, Kyiv city authorities imposed a 24-hour ‘stay home’ order for all Kyiv residents on Feb. 27, due to Russian sabotage operations in the city

“He has been there for almost three days,” Malyzheva said.

Iryna Pobedonostseva, press secretary for the Office of the President of Ukraine, told NV there are problems with burials in Kyiv, but things are far from being a catastrophe.

“I just talked to (Health Minister of Ukraine) Viktor Liashko,” she says.

“He said only bodies with death certificates can be buried. Unfortunately, it is impossible to get them today because of the curfew,” Pobedonotstseva explains.

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