Ukraine exhumes first 20 bodies of civilians, soldiers from mass burial sites

9 October 2022, 06:30 PM
Mass burial in Lyman, October 7, 2022 (Photo:Donetsk Region Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko/Handout via REUTERS)

Mass burial in Lyman, October 7, 2022 (Photo:Donetsk Region Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko/Handout via REUTERS)

Ukraine has exhumed the first 20 bodies of Ukrainian soldiers and civiliansfrom mass graves in the recently recaptured town of Lyman in Donetsk Oblast, the National Police of Ukraine reported on Oct. 9.

National Police Chief Ihor Klymenko said the exhumation was taking place at two burial sites.

According to tentative estimates, about 200 civilians were found buried at one of the sites. The other site is a mass grave of Ukrainian soldiers. The information about the mass graves in Lyman was provided by local residents.

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The civilians were buried in single graves, while the bodies of the military were put in a trench that is 40 meters long. A witness told the police that Russian invaders had ordered him to bury about 20 Ukrainian soldiers there.

The victims also include a family with two young children.

Some graves have plaques with the names of the deceased, while the restare nameless. However, the police say they take biological samples in each case and order tests to identify the victims and determine the cause of their death.

The National Police said the work was complicated by the fact that most of the bodies demonstrate the loss of soft tissue. For example, police officers found a bag with only the bones of a victim.

Investigative and forensic teams are working together with the prosecutor’s office at the sites. The exhumation is taking place as part of criminal proceedings under Art. 438 (violation of the laws and customs of war) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

In total, since Sept. 29, police have found 87 bodies in the liberated villages and towns of Donetsk Oblast, of whom they have identified 38 civilians.

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