Yurii Karpov

Yurii Karpov

“Every day we, as mothers, start our morning not with a cup of coffee, but with a prayer for our children, for the country, for peace,” says Liudmyla Karpova. Her son, Yurii Karpov, a member of the 93rd Mechanized Brigade, has been missing for six years.

“On August 26, 2014, he called for the last time. He said that they were surrounded. That they had barely survived. And then his connection went dead,” - recalls Liudmyla Karpova - “From the first of September, I started looking for my son. The unit didn't contact me, I went there myself. Nobody there knew anything for sure yet. I started sending inquiries to the SSU, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. In September, I called all hospitals in Donetsk and Makiivka. They replied that Yurii wasn`t there.”

Liudmyla says that there is every reason to believe that he is in captivity. “I found witnesses who saw Yurii in captivity, there is a video where after Ilovaisk where our prisoners are viciously mocked, Yura is also captured on tape,” she said.

She says that the missing people are often included in the lists of the deceased or their photos are placed on the memorial walls. Once Liudmyla saw a portrait of Yurii in the Book of Memory, called its creators and asked them to remove the picture.

When Yurii disappeared, his father - also named Yurii - received a draft notice. At the family meeting, it was decided that this was a chance to learn at least something about the fate of their son. The older Yurii went to the war. He fought for a year and was wounded, but he could not find his son.

Recently, the relatives of the missing soldiers asked the Verkhovna Rada Human Rights Ombudsman Liudmyla Denysova to include the names of their sons in the exchange lists.

“This petition must be signed, because the lives of the Ukrainians like us, the soldiers who defended us and were taken prisoner, are at stake. Our demands are not impossible or unreasonable, we just want all children,  husbands and brothers to return home,” says Liudmyla Karpova.