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Ukrainian government officially approves site for future military memorial cemetery

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 15, 2024 9:31 PM 2 min read
Graves of Ukrainian soldiers during the memorial day at the Lychakiv military cemetery on Nov. 1, 2023, in Lviv, Ukraine. (Stanislav Ivanov/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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The Ukrainian government has officially approved the construction of a national military memorial cemetery in the Hatne community near Kyiv, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal reported on March 15.

The location of the future cemetery has been a subject of discussion since 2022, when the idea to build such a cemetery was put forward amid Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Some relatives of fallen Ukrainian soldiers previously opposed the Hatne proposal as they wanted the cemetery to be in the capital.

Shmyhal said on Telegram that two land plots in the Hatne community in the Fastiv district of Kyiv Oblast would be allocated for the cemetery.

"The creation of such a cemetery is of great importance for our country. We should always remember those who gave their lives for Ukraine in the war for our freedom and independence," he added.

Explainer: What we do and don’t know about the number of Ukrainian troops killed
President Volodymyr Zelensky announced recently that 31,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed in the war against Russia, the first official release of military personnel losses in over a year. “Every person is a very great loss for us. 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers died in this war,” Zelensky said on

In 2022, Kyiv authorities discussed creating a national military memorial cemetery in several locations of the capital, including the Lysa Hora nature reserve and Babyn Yar, a large Holocaust memorial site, but those options did not gain enough support.

The Ukrainian parliament later backed the establishment of the cemetery on the territory of Bykivnia forest, also supported by families of fallen Ukrainian defenders. Kyiv authorities started the process in April 2023.

The plan was abandoned after the management of a reserve located inside the forest said that the area designated for the cemetery must undergo further archaeological investigation before construction could commence.

The "Bykivnia Graves," which lies in the forest, was previously home to a secret NKVD (Soviet-era secret police) facility of the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic. The site now serves as a burial ground for victims of mass political repressions in Kyiv between 1937 and 1941.

The government adopted an experimental project to construct the cemetery in the village of Hatne in August 2023.

Kyiv has only recently released information about the total number of Ukrainian soldiers killed during the full-scale invasion, with President Volodymyr Zelensky last month saying the number was around 31,000.

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