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Another possible mass grave with as many as 9,000 bodies is found near Mariupol

A man watches as a car burns with two people inside, after a Russian bombardment in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 21, 2022.
Felipe Dana
/
AP
A man watches as a car burns with two people inside, after a Russian bombardment in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 21, 2022.

Satellite imagery has revealed what Ukrainian officials say appears to be another mass grave in Ukraine.

The site was spotted outside the port city of Mariupol, in the eastern part of the country, which has seen some of the worst fighting since Russia invaded.

The grave is located just 12 miles west of Mariupol, along the northwestern edge of Manhush. And it may be 20 times larger than the mass grave in Bucha, according to a Telegram post by the Mariupol City Council, and could hold up to 9,000 bodies.

"The occupiers dug new trenches and filled them with corpses every day throughout April," the post said. "Our sources report that in such graves the bodies are placed in several layers."

Maxar Technologies, a provider of satellite imagery, said in a statement that the size of the mass grave has gradually expanded over the past month as Russian forces continue to transport Ukrainian bodies out of Mariupol. It's larger than three football fields, spanning approximately 340 meters — over 1,000 feet — in length.

Mariupol's mayor, Vadym Boychenko, was quoted in the Telegram post as comparing it to the Nazi's massacre at Babyn Yar, where more than 30,000 Ukrainian Jews were systematically executed over two days during World War II.

"Putin is destroying Ukrainians. He has already killed tens of thousands of civilians in Mariupol," the post quoted Boychenko as saying. "This requires a strong reaction from the entire civilized world. Anything needs to stop the genocide."

Ukrainian fighters have refused to lay down their arms and submit to the Russian war machine since the Kremlin began its campaign in late February. The fight is ongoing, but now the city is all but under the control of the Russians.

Ukrainian soldiers and citizens are holed up in a steel mill, but Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered troops not to storm the facility. Despite the holdout, Putin is claiming victory in the port city.

But more U.S. aid is on its way to Ukraine: another $800 million in the form of Howitzer artillery cannons and tactical drones. "With the latest disbursement, I've almost exhausted the drawdown authority I have, that Congress authorized for Ukraine," President Biden said.

He plans to ask Congress for additional funding next week, operating under the belief that weapons need to continue flowing into Ukraine "without interruption" to prepare for Russia's next phase of the war.

Below, you can see the chronological progression about how the grave site appears to have expanded.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

March 23, 2022: overview of the cemetery and the early expansion of graves.
/ Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies
/
Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies
March 23, 2022: overview of the cemetery and the early expansion of graves.
March 26, 2022: overview of the cemetery and the expansion of new graves.
/ Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies
/
Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies
March 26, 2022: overview of the cemetery and the expansion of new graves.
March 30, 2022: overview of the cemetery and the expansion of new graves.
/ Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies
/
Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies
March 30, 2022: overview of the cemetery and the expansion of new graves.
April 3, 2022: overview of the cemetery and the expansion of new graves.
/ Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies
/
Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies
April 3, 2022: overview of the cemetery and the expansion of new graves.

Dustin Jones is a reporter for NPR's digital news desk. He mainly covers breaking news, but enjoys working on long-form narrative pieces.

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