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Newly-released satellite images Thursday appear to show the existence of a new – and growing – mass grave site outside of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.
The site is located on the northwest corner of Manhush, a town about 12 miles west of Mariupol, and expands upon an already existing cemetery there, according to Maxar Technologies.
“According to recent media reports, Russian soldiers have been taking the bodies of people killed in Mariupol to this location,” the company said in a statement.
“A review of our satellite images from mid-March through mid-April indicate that the expansion of the new set of graves began between March 23-26, 2022 and has continued to expand over the past couple of weeks,” it added.
Maxar Technologies say the images show four new sections of graves placed in rows, with each section being about 279 feet in length.
Overall, more than 200 new graves have appeared at the site, it also said.
Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko said Thursday that Russian troops are burying Ukrainian civilians killed in the conflict at the site in Manhush in order to cover up “military crimes.”
Boychenko said that “the bodies started disappearing from the streets of the city,” accusing the Russians of “hiding the trace of their crimes and using mass graves as one of the instruments for that.”
“They are taking the bodies of the dead residents of Mariupol in trucks and throw them into those trenches,” he said. “They are hiding their military crimes.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin declared victory in Mariupol on Thursday, but President Biden later said the claim was “questionable.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.