According to recent Western media, Russian forces have buried up to 9,000 Mariupol civilians in “mass graves” in a town just west of the Ukrainian city. These reports use satellite imagery as supposed evidence and repeat the claims of officials loyal to Kiev that “the bodies may have been buried in layers” and “the Russians dug trenches and filled them with corpses every day throughout April.”
I went to the site in question and found no mass graves.
On April 23, I joined RT journalist Roman Kosarev on a visit to the location, in the town of Mangush. What I saw were new, orderly grave plots including some still empty ones – an extension of a cemetery that already exists at the spot. No mass pit. Many of the graves have placards with the names and dates of birth of the deceased when available, and the remaining plots were numbered according to burial.
Since the media is essentially copy-pasting from the same source – the former mayor of Mariupol, Vadym Boichenko (who seems to be far from the city now) – I’ll cite from the Washington Post’s article.
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Boichenko, the article notes, “called the site the ‘new Babyn Yar,’ referring to one the largest mass graves in Europe located in the outskirts of Kyiv, where 33,000 Jews where killed by Nazis in 1941 during World War II.”
This is ironic on several levels. A mayor who is whitewashing the neo-Nazis who have run amuck in hso city – notably those from the Azov Battalion, who have used civilians as human shields, occupied and militarized civilian infrastructure, point-blank executed civilians – is comparing an alleged (non-existent) mass grave to a Nazi massacre of WW2.
Meanwhile, the Kiev regime has re-written history, making WW2 Nazis and their collaborators heroes of the nation. The most notorious example being the World War Two figure Stepan Bandera.
Boichenko’s other alarming claim was that the alleged “mass grave” was “the biggest war crime of the 21st century.” We are only 22 years into it, but we’ve already seen the US-led invasion and destruction of Iraq, the levelling of Syria’s Raqqa, Saudi Arabia’s ongoing war in Yemen – all of which are much stronger contenders than the nowhere-to-be-found “mass graves” of Mangush.
In reality, the site has around 400 individual plots, including nearly 100 empty ones. The 9,000 bodies and “biggest war crime of the 21st century” were unverified claims made by a mayor who fled his city, promoted by media which down the page admitted they could independently verify the claims – but by then, the damage had been done.
Gravediggers disprove mass grave claims
While walking around the site, two men responsible for burials arrived, and when presented with the former mayor’s accusations of mass graves they vehemently rejected the claims.
“This is not a mass grave and no one is throwing bodies into a pit,” one told me.
According to them, they bury each person in a coffin and separate grave, details are logged in the morgue, and when any documents regarding name and age are given, the plot is marked with a placard containing those details. Otherwise a number is used.
Interestingly, they also noted that a section of the new graves included buried Ukrainian soldiers. “They’re human, too” one of the men said.
For those in doubt as to the location, see Roman’s report: his drone footage shows that it’s precisely the same location as shown in the satellite images used by Western media.