Volodymyr Vakulenko killed by Russian occupiers
On November 28, the DNA expertise confirmed that the body found in the grave №319 in the Izium woods was that of the Ukrainian writer Volodymyr Vakulenko. His ex-wife, Iryna Novitska, informed about this on her Facebook page.
"Today in the evening, Volodymyr Vakulenko’s parents were informed that, following the results of the DNA expertise, it was their son’s body in the grave №319," Novitska wrote.
After the liberation of the Kharkiv region, the world learned of the mass grave in the Izium woods: a single site was host to 447 bodies. The grave №319 became known from the record book of the Izium ritual service which assigned the name of Volodymyr Vakulenko to the number 319. Still, as the funerals took place under extreme conditions, it was only a DNA analysis that could confirm the writer’s death. The expertise lasted for several months. Primarily, the law enforcement authorities denied the information of Volodymyr Vakukenko’s being buried in the mass grave. On October 20, the spokesman of the Kharkiv regional prosecutor’s office reported on air of the national TV news marathon that a body of an unknown woman had been exhumed from the burial №319.
The news that the Ukrainian writer, activist and volunteer Volodymyr Vakulenko had been abducted near Izium in the occupied Kharkiv region, together with his son Vitalii, first emerged in April. Later it became known that Volodymyr 's son was released, yet neither his relatives nor his friends could reach Volodymyr’s parents in the occupied village of Kapytolivka; therefore, no information of the man’s whereabouts had been available. Vakulenko’s parents were finally located In September, after the Armed Forces of Ukraine had liberated Izium and its suburbs from Russian occupation.
Then it became known that the Russian occupiers first entered the home of Volodymyr Vakulenko on March 22. The family was taken their phones, documents, and Ukrainian books away ‘for checking’. Next day, the Russians took Volodymyr Vakulenko and his son Vitalii, diagnosed with autizm. The occupiers undressed the writer to inspect his tattoos and bashed him. Next day, Volodymyr and his son were allowed to return home. It was then that Vakulenko decided to bury his war diary under a cherry tree in the garden. At about 11 am on March 24, a bus marked with a Z-sign, with its sliding door pulled out, drove up to the house where Volodymyr Vakulenko lived with his son and his father. The occupiers shoved him into the bus and took off in the direction of Izium. None of Vakulenko’s relatives had seen him or heard from him since.
Volodymyr Vakulenko was born on July 1, 1972 in the Kharkiv region. He is an author of 13 books, among which there are "Monoliteracy" (2008) "You Are… Not" (2011), "The Sun’s Family" (2011), "We, the Province!" (2013). His pen name is Volodymyr Vakulenko-K. His own genre, which contains elements of postmodernism, modernism, neo-classicism, and logical absurdism, Volodymyr defines as "contrliterature". Vakulenko is a winner of several Ukrainian and international literary prizes. His works have been translated into English, German, Belarussian, Crimean Tatar, and Esperanto languages. Vakulenko was well-known for his strong patriotic stance. Since the autumn 2013, he was an active supporter of the Revolution of Dignity and got injured in February 2014 during the mass protest in the Mariinskyi park. He was actively helping the Ukrainian military in the Kharkiv region since the very beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion and never wanted to leave his homeland.
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