Mass burials around Mariupol doubled since May: report

Source: www.foxnews.com : 2022-07-07 18:16:14 : Caitlin McFall

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The site of a mass grave near the southern port city of Mariupol has doubled since May, a report Thursday found, following the conclusion of Russia’s brutal assault on the city earlier this year. 

According to new satellite pictures taken by California-based imaging company Planet Labs, the site of a previously known mass grave in the village of Staryi Krym – located roughly 3 miles outside of Mariupol – has nearly doubled after large equipment was brought in on June 29 to dig what appeared to be trenches.

Mariupol city officials have estimated that some 15,000 people could be buried in these mass graves, first reported Radio Liberty, a U.S. government-funded news organization Thursday.

UKRAINE MASS GRAVES: SATELLITE IMAGES SHOW MARIUPOL CEMETERY EXPANDING AS RUSSIAN WAR CONTINUES

Red Cross staff drive by in their vehicles to the besieged Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant to observe the evacuation of Ukrainian servicemen on May 18, 2022.

Red Cross staff drive by in their vehicles to the besieged Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant to observe the evacuation of Ukrainian servicemen on May 18, 2022.
(AP Photo)

Adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, Petro Andryushchenko, reportedly suggested that these new graves could be a result of Russian attempts to clear the rubble from fallen apartment buildings that were destroyed during Russia’s brutal shelling campaign earlier this year.

Andryushchenko said there could be as many as 100 bodies in each of these destroyed buildings as local residents got caught in the targeted missile strikes. 

The advisor said that on Tuesday Russia’s “Emergency Management Services” entered the village to begin clearing the rubble and found one basement that allegedly contained “100-200 corpses.”

Andryushchenko said Russian authorities have disagreed on who should be the ones to clear out the bodies found in these situations and have ultimately left it up to Russian “state funeral services,” which reportedly charges families of the deceased for individual burials.

SATELLITE IMAGES REVEAL NEW MASS GRAVES AT UKRAINIAN CEMETERY NEAR MARIUPOL

Wounded Ukrainian servicemen lay in a bus as they are evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 17, 2022.

Wounded Ukrainian servicemen lay in a bus as they are evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 17, 2022.
(Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

The fight for Mariupol resulted in one of the most brutal bombing campaigns reported in Ukraine as Russian troops pummeled the city in an attempt to root out resistance forces. 

Mass grave sites have also been recorded in two other suburbs of Mariupol, including Manhush and Vynohradne, where thousands are also believed to have been buried en masse.

In April the Mariupol City Council said trenches had been dug outside Manhush, roughly 12 miles from the port city, which were capable of holding up to 9,000 bodies. 

“The occupiers dug new trenches and filled them with corpses every day throughout April,” the post said. “Our sources report that in such graves the bodies are placed in several layers.”

The graves were estimated by satellite imagery company Maxar Technologies to be over 1,000 feet in length – an area roughly the size of three football fields, reported NPR. 

A member of Russia's Emergencies Ministry walks near a destroyed residential building in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 11, 2022.

A member of Russia’s Emergencies Ministry walks near a destroyed residential building in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 11, 2022.
(Reuters/Alexander Ermochenko)

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A separate mass grave was reported in the village of Vynohradne, roughly nine miles from Mariupol, but it remains unclear how many people are believed to have been buried at this site. 

“We think that the number of dead must be much higher than 20,000, because the number of graves continued to grow,” Andryushchenko told Radio Liberty. “However, under the current conditions and the lack of access, it is impossible to realistically draw a conclusion about the number of victims.”

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