Photo from UNIAN

A family have reportedly been caught trying to smuggle a dead relative into Ukraine by strapping her into a car seat and pretending she was alive.

Ukrainian border guards detained the vehicle, which had a Russian number plate, in Kharkiv region earlier this week, the country's state border service said, according to The Independent.

A Russian man was driving the Ford car, while his son, a Ukrainian citizen, was sitting next to him, said Oleh Slobodian, a spokesperson for the border service.

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Images posted on Facebook showed the driver's dead wife slumped in the back seat, strapped in by a seat belt, with a pillow across her face.

"In the back seat, the law enforcement officers found the corpse of a woman who was planted and fastened with a seat belt as a living person," Slobodian said in a statement, according to Ukrainian TV.

After officials realized the woman was dead, her husband provided them with his wife's Russian death certificate, dated October 22.

He reportedly explained they were trying to get the corpse into Ukraine in order to bury it in Zaporizhia region, around 190 miles from Kharkiv.

It is unclear, however, why they attempted to smuggle the body. Ukrainian law requires corpses be transported in sealed zinc coffins when crossing state borders.

Slobodian said Russian border guards at an adjacent checkpoint waved the car through, failing to notice one of the car's passengers was dead.

A police investigation has been launched, local media reported.