“When You See It, You Won’t Forgive”: Part III of an Investigative Report on Human Trafficking in Ukraine

Deborah L. Armstrong
Photo: New Eastern Outlook

Shortly after the beginning of the year, on January 14th, 2023, videos of a large protest in the Ukrainian capitol of Kiev began to surface on social media. The majority of the protesters were women, though some men can also be seen in the crowd. The women are identified as the widows and wives of the 24th Division of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Protestors in Kiev demand the return of their loved ones’ bodies.

Women in Kiev demand the return of their loved ones’ remains. Photo: Ruptly/zpnews.ru

If you’ve read parts one and two of this investigative report on human trafficking in Ukraine, you have already read testimony from people claiming to have witnessed or taken part in the harvesting of organs from Ukrainian soldiers and civilians who did not always give consent.

You have also read how organ harvesting on the battlefield has been going on since at least the late 1990’s, according to a 2009 report: “Inhuman Treatment of People and Illicit Trafficking in Human Organs in Kosovo” by Deputy Dick Marty of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). And you have read how, according to Dr. Vladimir Ovchinsky, adviser to the Russian Minister of Internal Affairs, some of the same people who spearheaded the transplantation program in Kosovo, are allegedly now in Ukraine, directing transplantation efforts there.

The Verkhovna Rada, Ukrainian Parliament. Photo: Spzh.news

Mykhailo Radutsky, chairman of the Committee on National Health, Medical Care and Health Insurance. Photo: Verkhovna Rada

Add to this the numerous reports in Russian media, and in the Russian blogosphere, of mass burials of people in eastern Ukraine with all of their organs removed. Though such stories are mocked in the west and dismissed as “Russian disinformation,” there are an alarming number of them to be found.

In 2021, a militiaman from DPR is at the site of the mass graves of discovered outside Donetsk. [Source: rt.com]

Cartoon by Chip Bok. Photo: Yahoo news

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Russian-speaking man who claims children’s organs were harvested in Izyum.

Dr. Michael Zis. Photo: Ynetnews.com

“Two ribs, two Achilles heels, two elbows, two eardrums, two teeth, and so on…” A relative holds a picture of Oleksandr Frolov, whose body parts were found during a raid in Ukraine. Photo: The Sydney Morning Herald.

“Human life is not for sale” reads a Ukrainian sign in Kiev in 2016, which includes hotlines for victims of human trafficking to call. Photo: Atlantic Council.

Cartoon by Joel Pett/The Week

A Ukrainian woman on dialysis waits for a kidney transplant. Photo: Asian News

Human Trafficking in Ukraine: Illegal Organ Harvest