The story of a photograph.
This boy in the Bucha refrigeration unit next to all the bodies has probably been seen in the most distant corners of the world, far from Ukraine.
His name is Ihor, he’s 24 and it turns out that we once lived on neighboring streets for many years. He’s one of those volunteers who went to Bucha after it was de-occupied to collect the bodies of locals killed by the russians. For two weeks, he collected and transported around 20 bodies a day. The day this famous photo was taken, he moved some 60 bodies with other volunteers, wearing a respirator, a HAZMAT suit, in the middle of that most awful stench. Here, he says, he was simply breathing some fresh air after the hard work.
When the full-scale war broke out, he first patrolled with his friends and then, during the occupation, he began to deliver medications and food through russian checkpoints. He hid locals, making foxholes for them right under the barrels of russian machineguns. Not metaphorically—literally.
Now, Ihor is involved in the exhumations: digging up those executed and tortured to death by the russians in Bucha and Borodianka Counties. For free. He then transports them to the morgue at his own cost—because it matters to him.
Ihor says he really hates it when someone tries to make a hero of him. But I can’t agree with him. The fact that he delivered food under the occupation, risking being shot himself or falling under enemy fire, and the way he helped and continues to help the dead, deserves the deepest gratitude from the living.
Ihor also says he’s ready to go to the front to free Severodonetsk or Mariupol and help the dead to be found there, identified and given a proper burial.
We did a mini-documentary about this wonderful guy. Tomorrow it’s on the Only Marathon. And don’t say that I didn’t warn you.