Russia is calling for an international investigation into the discovery of burial sites with signs of execution at locations where the Ukraine National Guard forces were stationed two days earlier.
The head of Russia’s presidential human rights council, Mikhail Fedotov, has called on the authorities to do everything to “ensure an independent international probe” and “let international human rights activists and journalists” gain access to the site in Eastern Ukraine’s embattled Donetsk region.
The crime, Fedotov noted, shouldn’t “remain without consequences.” He didn’t exclude the discovery of other burial sites, reminding that mass killings are “the reality of the modern-day war” and that such crimes were committed in the wars in the former Yugoslavia.
The burial sites near the Kommunar mine, 60 kilometers from Donetsk, were first discovered on Tuesday by self-defense forces.
Four bodies have been exhumed, including those of three women. Their hands were tied, at least one of the bodies was decapitated, self-defense fighters said.
Two bodies were found Monday, and two others Tuesday.
Self-defense forces believe there might be other burials in the area.
"They are from Kommunar, which has just been freed [by DNR/DPR forces]. The people told me that the women had been missing and here we found four bodies. And I don’t know how many more people we might find,” a self-defense fighter, nicknamed Angel, told RT.
"The peaceful Ukrainian army came here and "liberated" them but I can’t understand what the Army freed them from. These women died horribly," his comrade, Alabai, added.
Self-defense forces said that near the mine – which was abandoned by the Ukrainian forces a few days ago – there are other burial sites which will also be examined.
OSCE monitors have already visited and inspected the burial site.
According to the OSCE report published Wednesday, some of the victims buried not far from Donetsk were killed a month ago. Near an entrance to the village the organization’s staff saw “a hill of earth, resembling a grave” and a sign with the initials of five people and a date of death – August 27, 2014. This was one of the three unidentified burial sites discovered by OSCE monitors.
Prosecutors in the Donetsk People’s Republic have started an investigation.
Russian Foreign Ministry’s envoy for human rights, Konstantin Dolgov, said on Twitter that the Ukrainian army was to blame for the killings.
“The finding of mass burial sites in Donetsk area is yet another trace of the Ukrainian forces’ and radical nationalists’ humanitarian crime,” Dolgov said.
“This beastly crime targeting civilians attracts our attention even more to the necessity of investigating humanitarian crimes in Ukraine under international control,” he added.
Calling the burial “war crimes that cannot be justified,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry called on the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe, alongside non-governmental organizations specializing in human rights, to give “a profound assessment” of what occurred. In a Wednesday press release, the ministry urged international bodies to carry out “an urgent, impartial, objective and comprehensive investigation” and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The press service of the Ukrainian Donbass operation called the Russian reports false, saying that not a single unit was located in the area, and instead blaming the self-defense forces for the killings of civilians.