Mariupol: Ukraine says Russia buries civilians in mass graves as Putin claims victory

Mariupol: Ukraine says Russia buries civilians in mass graves as Putin claims victory

The mayor of the besieged port city of Mariupol said that Russia’s troops are burying Ukrainian civilians killed in the conflict in mass graves to cover up “military crimes”, as Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed victory in Mariupol.

Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko said that the Russians buried hundreds of civilians outside Mariupol, accusing Moscow’s forces of “hiding the trace of their crimes and using mass graces as one of the instruments for that.”

“They are taking the bodies of the dead residents of Mariupol in trucks and throw them into those trenches. They are hiding their military crimes,” he said.

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Maxar Technologies, which collects and publishes satellite imagery of Ukraine, published on Tuesday images and analysis saying it showed evidence of new mass graves at the location Ukraine’s officials identified the mass graves.

“According to recent media reports, Russian soldiers have been taking the bodies of people killed in Mariupol to this location,” Maxar said in its analysis.

“A review of our satellite images from mid-March through mid-April indicate that the expansion of the new set of graves began between March 23-26, 2022, and has continued to expand over the past couple of weeks. The graves are aligned in four sections of linear rows (measuring approximately 85 meters per section) and contain more than 200 new graves.”

Putin’s claim of victory in Mariupol

Putin claimed on Thursday a Russian victory in Mariupol and called off an operation to storm the Azovstal steel plant, the main remaining Ukrainian stronghold in the besieged port city.

Mariupol has been under relentless bombardment for weeks. It is a strategic target for the Russians that would allow Moscow to establish control over territory linking the Donbas in south-eastern Ukraine to annexed Crimea.

Russian forces were recently focusing their offensive in the port city on the Azovstal steel plant, where thousands of soldiers and civilians sought shelter.

According to Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, Russian troops were “three to four days” away from seizing control of the plant, state news agency TASS reported.

But Putin called off the offensive.

“In this case, we need to think about – I mean, we always need to think about it, but particularly in this case – we need to think about preserving the life and health of our soldiers and officers. There’s no reason to penetrate through these subterranean pathways and beneath these industrial facilities,” TASS quoted Putin as saying.

He ordered that the plant be “blocked so that even a fly can’t get in or out,” and the Ukrainians inside be offered to lay down their arms in exchange for amnesty.

Read more:

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