Kyiv, Apr 22 (EFE).- A mass grave with as many as 9,000 human corpses discovered in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol is “the new Babyn Yar,” its mayor said, referring to the shooting of thousands of Ukrainians, mostly Jews, in Nazi-occupied Kyiv during the Holocaust.
Vadym Boychenko posted Telegram pictures of the large mass grave, saying it could contain 3,000 to 9,000 bodies near the besieged city that the Russians say they have “liberated.”
Boychenko said the newly found mass grave in the Manhush village “is 20 times bigger” than the one found in Bucha after the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kyiv Oblast.
The Mariupol mass grave was first spotted in satellite imagery by Maxar Technologies, a private American company that collects and publishes satellite imageries.
Maxar said that the mass grave site had expanded to contain more than 200 new graves.
The mayor alleged that the Russians have “dug new trenches and filled them with corpses on a daily basis throughout the month of April.”
“Our sources report that in such graves the bodies are placed in several layers,” said Boychenko.
He labeled it “the worst war crime of the 21st century.”
He said it was “the new Babyn Yar,” recalling the site of a mass grave of victims, mostly Jews, whom Nazi German SS squads killed between 1941 and 1943 and buried in a large wooden ravine on the northern edge of Kyiv.
“Hitler then killed Jews, Roma gypsies and Slavs. And now (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is destroying the Ukrainians,” the mayor said.
“He has already killed tens of thousands of civilians in Mariupol. And this calls for a strong reaction from the civilized world. Something has to stop the genocide,” the mayor said.
Ukrainian authorities say that the public services had buried some 5,000 people in various areas of Mariupol and its neighborhoods by mid-March.
Officials estimate the Russian army has killed more than 22,000 people in Mariupol.
Russian troops besieged the city on the shores of the Sea of Azov since the invasion on Feb.24.
The authorities say the city population, initially almost half a million, has shrunk to less than 100,000 residents, who live in subhuman conditions in neighborhoods destroyed by Russian bombardments.
Russia Thursday claimed that it had captured the port city even as the Ukrainian troops remained inside the Azovstal steel plant, the last pocket of resistance where some 2,000 people have taken shelter.
The heavily fortified plant is spread over an 11 sq km area and has many underground tunnels and bunkers.
Experts say the strategic Mariupol city is one of the main objectives of the Russians in their effort to achieve total control of the Donbas region and create a land corridor in the east of the country to the annexed Crimean peninsula.
Kyiv said the Russians were not yet in total control of the city, as some soldiers and several hundred civilians remained holed up inside the steel complex. EFE