Satellite images analyzed by the BBC show 1,500 more graves dug since June, bringing the total to more than 4,600 since the start of the war in a devastated city.
Few cities in Ukraine represent the horror of war as much as Mariupol. This strategic enclave on the shore of the Azov Sea was a primary target of the Russians from the beginning of the invasion and has been the scene of some of the greatest atrocities committed to date. Some estimates made by the Ukrainian authorities put the number of deaths in this city at 25,000. But the horror may be much greater.
new satellite images analyzed by British television BBC show that since June 1,500 graves have been excavated in Mariupol. In total, there are 4,600 graves in the city since the start of the war. A gigantic open-air cemetery.
The dripping from morgues has been incessant. The first mass grave in the area was found in April in the town of Mangush, located 20 kilometers from Mariupol. It is estimated that there could be between 3,000 and 9,000 bodies in it. Later, many other massive burials have been found throughout the municipality and its surroundings. The last ones, the 1,500 unveiled this Monday.
Of course, Mariúpol has not been the only town in which mass graves have been found. It has also happened in Izium or in Bucha, where the Russians left dozens of corpses of executed civilians after their withdrawal, images that went around the world.
The photographs released on Monday by the BBC show three burial sites that, according to Ukrainian official sources and witnesses, contain thousands of bodies. Several residents quoted by the television network say that in recent months they have seen representatives of the Russian authorities who occupied the city remove thousands of bodies from the rubble. Between 5,000 and 7,000 bodies were buried in the ruins of the devastated city, according to estimates by the kyiv government.
Eyewitnesses have told the BBC cameras that in these long months of war they have not been able to bury their loved ones. Many don’t even know where they are. They could be in mass graves in the city center after the removal of bodies from the streets during the clashes.
“On some terrible days we were told that there were more than a hundred bodies, sometimes 150 bodies, that had to be collected,” said Vaagn Mnatsakanian, a resident who participated in local teams digging these graves for municipal authorities. ukrainian Others have recounted visiting makeshift morgues in Mariupol in the summer to try to find their loved ones. “People must know the truth about these horrors so that it doesn’t happen again,” said Tatiana, a woman living in the city.
Before the war Mariúpol had a population of approximately 500,000 people. It was besieged by Russian troops from the first day of the invasion, and subjected to constant heavy artillery shelling for weeks.
Mariupol was the first martyr city in Ukraine. The images that arrived in the first bars of the war were of an atrocious crudeness. There, for example, the bombing of a maternity with dozens of pregnant women inside took place.
The terrible fighting raged for weeks as Ukrainians in the area took refuge in the Azovstal steelworks. They resisted until the end of May, led by soldiers from the Azov battalion, which is considered neo-Nazi in Russia. The clashes culminated in a massive exchange of prisoners and the definitive conquest of the municipality by Russia.
The port enclave is of great strategic, symbolic and economic value for Russia. In the economic field, it would become the main center of heavy industry and shipbuilding in the country, in addition to seizing the largest commercial port in the Sea of Azov from the former republic. Grain and heavy machinery were exported from here to Europe and the Middle East. But, in addition, the city has a strategic value as the nucleus of the southeastern strip that the Russians have conquered and a symbolic meaning. It resisted his army at the start of the war in Donbas in 2014 and is the headquarters of the Azov Battalion, the “Nazis” that Putin wants to eliminate. Hell goes on.
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