MOSCOW – Around 40 bodies of civilians have been found in one of three mass graves in eastern Ukraine, the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said on Thursday.
“So far, three burials have been found, one of them with bodies of civilians, 40 of them already discovered. Two others contain the bodies of captured militia members and Ukrainian soldiers,” Alexander Zakharchenko told the Russian News Service radio station.
Militias continue uncovering new burials but their exact number is yet unknown, Zakharchenko said.
The latest discovery is due to be investigated by the republic’s Interior Ministry and Defense Ministry, and international experts from Europe and Russia.
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said in its daily report on September 23 that the military police of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic found three unmarked graves allegedly containing multiple bodies.
Two of the burials were located in a coal mine Komunar near the village Nyzhnia Krynka, some 35 kilometers (21.7 miles) northeast of Donetsk, and one inside the village, the OSCE report said. Earlier the territory was under the control of the Ukrainian army and the National Guard’s battalion Aidar.
The first exhumation results after the discovery of four bodies, including three identified as women, reportedly showed that the victims had been raped, tortured, tied up and gunned down. One of the women was pregnant.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry believes the mass burial of civilians near Donetsk is a military crime that could have been committed by Ukraine’s National Guard, and insists on an urgent and comprehensive international probe into the case.