Apr 21, 2022 - World

Satellite images show mass grave in Ukrainian town near Mariupol

A satellite image showing a mass grave site near an existing graveyard in the village of Manhush, Ukraine, situated roughly 12 miles from Mariupol.
A satellite image captured on April 3 showing a mass grave near an existing graveyard in the village of Manhush, Ukraine, situated roughly 12 miles from Mariupol. Satellite image: Maxar Technologies

Newly released satellite images captured in March and early April show the construction of a mass grave site in a Ukrainian village near Mariupol, Maxar Technologies says.

Why it matters: The village of Manhush is roughly 12 miles from Mariupol, which has been besieged by Russian forces since the start of their invasion of Ukraine.

Maxar said construction on the new set of graves near an existing cemetery began between March 23 and 26.

  • It said the more than 200 new graves are aligned in four sections of linear rows, measuring approximately 280 feet (85 meters) per section.
  • Manhush, which had a population of around 7,000 before the war, has been held by Russian soldiers for several weeks.
  • Ukrainian officials estimate that thousands of civilians have been killed in Russia's siege of Mariupol.
A satellite image of Munhush's cemetery captured on March 19 showing the early construction of gravesites.
A satellite image of Munhush's cemetery captured on March 19 showing the early construction of gravesites. Satellite image: Maxar Technologies
Another satellite image captured on March 26 showing the cemetery with a line of newly dug graves.
Another satellite image captured on March 26 showing the cemetery with a line of newly dug graves. Satellite image: Maxar Technologies

The big picture: Satellite images captured by Maxar earlier this month showed a 45-foot-long trench on the grounds of a church in Bucha, Ukraine, which had been occupied by Russian troops for weeks.

  • Since Russia withdrew from northern Ukraine, evidence has surfaced of atrocities committed in Bucha while Russian troops held the town, including indiscriminate killings, torture and other violence against civilians.
  • Human Rights Watch researchers working in Bucha after Russia's withdrawal found "extensive evidence of summary executions, other unlawful killings, enforced disappearances and torture," the organization reported Wednesday.
  • War crimes investigations in the area are ongoing.

The United Nations Human Rights Council currently estimates that 2,345 civilians have been killed and 2,919 injured during Russia's invasion, though it stressed that it believes the "actual figures are considerably higher."

  • Because of intense fighting in Mariupol and other cities, the UN body has been unable to record exactly how many civilians deaths have occurred but it said that "there are allegations of numerous civilian casualties."

Go deeper: Putin unlikely to face punishment for any war crimes in Ukraine

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