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Official: Russian forces burn dead soldiers' bodies near occupied Melitopol

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 10, 2023 7:11 PM 1 min read
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In an attempt to hide losses, Russian forces bury dead soldiers in occupied Ukrainian territories instead of transporting the bodies to Russia, Ukraine's deputy defense minister said on Aug. 10.

Dead Russian soldiers have been cremated "almost non-stop" near the occupied city of Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, according to Hanna Maliar. "Residents have been feeling the characteristic acrid smoke for a long time."

Russia also transfers the bodies to a local morgue in Kherson Oblast's Chaplynka on the Russian-occupied east bank of the Dnipro River, added the official. They are being buried in two locations, with one covering up to 100 hectares.

Ukraine's counteroffensive is ongoing in the country's east and south, while Russian forces are trying to regain positions in Kharkiv Oblast they had lost last autumn. According to Maliar, Moscow currently loses "hundreds" of soldiers killed along the front lines.

As of Aug. 10, Russia has lost 252,200 troops in Ukraine since the beginning of its full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces wrote in its daily update.

Neither Moscow nor Kyiv has provided precise information about their troop casualties.

In April 2022, the Mariupol City Council reported that Russia's special brigades were collecting and burning the bodies of murdered residents, using mobile crematoriums to hide their war crimes. Tens of thousands of civilians may have been killed in Mariupol.

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