A mass grave containing thousands of bodies — and dug by Ukrainians in exchange for food and water — has been uncovered near the besieged city of Mariupol, the mayor says.
The huge trench, which stretches more than 600 feet, can be seen on satellite images, Mayor Vadym Boychenko said Tuesday.
“We know about these mass graves because these [Russian] fascists – and I have no other words – involve the local population for burial,” Boychenko told Radio Svoboda. “They told us that ‘you need to work hours [for] food, water.’ … People are forced to do so.”
The apparent mass grave is located in the Old Crimean Cemetery just south of the town of Staryi Krym on the outskirts of Mariupol.
Possible mass graves have also been spotted in satellite imagery of the Mariupol suburbs Mangush and Vynohradne, each eerily similar to the burial sites found outside Kyiv earlier this month.
Mariupol authorities estimate that about 20,000 civilians have been killed in the two months since the city has been bombarded and under siege by Russian invaders.
On Tuesday, Russian forces continued to shell the area’s Azovstal steel plant, where about 2,000 of the city’s last remaining defenders and 1,000 civilians have taken shelter.
“Russia has drastically intensified strikes over the past 24 hours and is using heavy bunker bombs,” said Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to Boychenko. “The number of those wounded will be clear once the rubble is cleared.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed “in principle” to United Nations and Red Cross’ involvement in the evacuation of civilians from Azovstal on Tuesday during a meeting in Moscow with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The Russian leader also claimed that the civilians were being held in the plant against their will by Ukrainian forces using them as human shields.
With Post Wires