The head of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ monitoring mission in Ukraine said on Friday that UN monitors were receiving more and more information about the presence of mass graves in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which has been besieged by Russian forces. There will be about 200 bodies in one of these mass graves, Modilda Pokhner said during a video conference.
He said some of the information collected by the UN came from analyzing satellite images.
A UN official says more than 1,000 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion a month ago, and he is leading a monitoring mission to document indiscriminate attacks by both sides. Modilda Pokhner pointed out that UN observers had gathered significant information about the enforced disappearance of civilians killed by Russian forces and Ukrainian officers held hostage while trying to escape in a car from Mariupol.
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Mariupol was completely surrounded
He added that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was also investigating allegations of forcible transfer of citizens from Mariupol to Russia. With Mariupol completely surrounded by Russian forces and under shelling, it is difficult to know independently what is going on there.
On Friday, the port city municipality said it had collected evidence that about 300 people had been killed in a bomb blast at the city’s theater on March 16, the base of which was used as a shelter. The municipality said in a statement that it was unable to provide a consolidated balance sheet. About 130 people were rescued alive from the rubble of the theater, Ukrainian officials said in the days following the blast, but the number of people trapped in the basement had not been firmly established.
Authorities in Kiev have accused the Russian military of carrying out airstrikes against the theater, which Moscow has denied targeting civilians, and of bombing the “Azov battalion” attached during the 2014 Battle of Donbass. Nazi militants, and integrated into the Ukrainian National Guard.
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