An act of will, courage, and humanity titled "Black Tulips." A group of volunteers led by Oleksiy Yukov has taken on the task of recovering the bodies of soldiers "missing" in the countryside on the war front. A soldier cannot be declared dead until their body is found.
The charred remains of a soldier, identified by a nearby boot, used by the Russian army.
"My soul seeks romance, but my ass seeks adventure."
The Black Tulips operate in an inextricable landscape of violence, where the risk of extracting bodies is extreme. At times, the bodies themselves have become grim explosive traps, a dreadful testament to the cruelty of war. An example of the bravery and dedication of the Black Tulips is embodied in Denys Sosnenko, a young volunteer who contributed to retrieving bodies from the battlegrounds. Tragically, he died at the age of 21 when his van hit an anti-tank mine.
Oleksiy Yukov searching for the remains of Russian soldiers inside a Russian APC.
Artillery strikes seen on the side of a hill in Donbass.
A volunteer from the Black Tulip group cordoned off the body of the Russian soldier, sees that there is a wire running through under the corpse; there is a fear that the body is booby-trapped.
Oleksiy Yukov leading the group on a country road, observing the terrain for safety and hidden mines.
A decapitated monument from World War II.
Initially dedicated to returning the remains of fallen soldiers from World War II, since 2014, they mainly operate in searching for the bodies of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers who died in Donbass. Their work also facilitates the exchange of bodies between the two nations involved in the current Russo-Ukrainian War. The process of body exchange remains secretive, and the total number of bodies involved has not been disclosed by either party.
Black Tulip volunteers carrying the skull of Russian soldier n299.
What remains of a World War II monument, including the star and plaques with the names of deceased Soviet soldiers.
The work of the Black Tulips is an extraordinary example of humanity and dedication amidst the tragedies of war. Their courage in recovering the bodies of fallen soldiers and their commitment to facilitating the exchange of remains demonstrate the power of humanity in seeking some peace and understanding even in the darkest moments of history.
A volunteer marking the bag containing the body with the date and location of discovery, writing "20/01/2023 - Kharkiv district.