Ukraine: Pictures show expanded cemetery near occupied city

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Satellite photos analyzed by the Associated Press on Tuesday show the rapid expansion of a cemetery in southern Ukraine in the months after Russian forces seized the port city of Mariupol.

Images from Planet Labs PBC highlight changes in the cemetery in Staryi Crimea, an occupied town northwest of the city. Compare images from March 24, when Mariupol was attacked by the Russians, with one taken on October 14, several months after the city’s fall, showing significant development in the fringe area south side of the cemetery.

An area of ​​about 1.1 square kilometers (less than half a square mile) appears to have been freshly dug during that period in the southwest corner of the cemetery. Another area just over half a square kilometer was dug in the southeast corner.

It remains unclear how many people were buried at the cemetery over a period of about seven months.

The Center for Information Recovery, a London-based non-profit that specializes in digital investigations and has tracked the Staryi Crimea cemetery, estimates that more than 4,600 graves have been dug since Russia began the invasion. war in Ukraine.

The center said it could not estimate the number of bodies buried. The BBC’s Panorama program covered the centre’s analysis for the first time.

The suffering of the inhabitants of Mariupol and the bitter fighting Ukrainian forces had built from within a giant steel mill to keep the coastal city from falling into Russian hands became the early highlights of the war. painting.

During the nearly three-month siege, a maternity hospital and a theater shelter were among the sites that had become ruins. When they finally surrendered, the Ukrainian army was taken prisoner by the Russians.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense reported on Tuesday that Russia has begun construction of defensive structures around the occupied city, including pyramid-shaped anti-tank structures known as “dragon teeth” between Mariupol and Stary Crimea.

The ministry did not provide a source for the information, but it said Russian forces were making “considerable efforts” to fortify their lines across the occupied Ukrainian territories, “potentially preventing any further steps.” any quick advance by Ukraine in the event of a breakthrough.”

A Ukrainian counteroffensive launched in late August has regained momentum in the south of the country in recent weeks.


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