In one Ukrainian Telegram group for those who have lost loved ones in Mariupol, its more than 26,000 members have one objective: ensuring the thousands who died during the Russian assault on the port city are given a proper burial, and in many cases finding their remains in the first place.
The number of bodies in Mariupol is overwhelming. Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian mayor, estimated that 22,000 died in the two months of fighting. However, a person among several coordinating burials in the city who spoke on condition of anonymity said they believed the total was closer to 50,000.
Some of those in the messenger app group know where their loved ones are buried and are navigating the chaotic burial process under the new authorities. Others spend their days scrolling through social media groups for news, and fear they may never find them, while fellow members post photos and videos of grave markers, as well as photos of handwritten lists of the dead, occasionally with burial locations, written by unknown authors.
Join the conversation as a VIP Member