Kyiv, Apr 6 (EFE).- More than 400 people have gone missing in the Ukrainian town of Hostomel near the capital Kyiv since the Russian invasion on Feb.24, the state-run news agency Ukrinform said Wednesday, after allegations of a civilian massacre in the neighboring town of Bucha.
“Throughout (the) 35 days of occupation, we have more than 400 missing. We are checking the basements of Hostomel together with the State Emergency Service and patrol police officers,” Hostomel military administration head Taras Dumenko said.
“We have about 1,200 residents, with whom the contact has been established and who inform us about the whereabouts of certain people who have left,” Ukrinform quoted Dumenko as saying in a radio interview.
Hostomel was one of the six cities awarded by President Volodymyr Zelensky the title “Hero City” for bravely fending off the Russian invaders.
Located northwest of the capital Kyiv, near Irpin and Bucha, the city houses approximately 17,000 inhabitants and is best known for its international freight airport.
Dumenko recalled how the Russian troops in Hostomel killed village head Yuriy Prylypko and two of his assistants distributing humanitarian aid on Mar.7. The Ukrainian authorities recovered their bodies later.
“Not many bodies have been found in Hostomel, but shot bodies, killed residents were found further in the villages of our community,” he said.
The military commander said several residents of the Hostomel community were also found in Bucha, a town northwest of the capital Kyiv where the Russian forces allegedly massacred many residents.
The mutilated bodies of civilians were found strewn and piled together on the street, some of them with their hands tied in graphic evidence of killings and torture after the withdrawal of Russian forces from the city the Ukrainian troops said they recaptured on Saturday.
Russia has denied the allegations, saying the footage and photographs of corpses were a “staged performance” by Ukraine.
The news agency reported that mass killings of civilians by the Russians were recorded in recaptured towns and villages.
“It necessary to understood that the occupiers removed people. It has been confirmed that people from Hlibivka came to Hostomel and then the contact with them was lost. But we need to understand that the occupiers also covered the traces of their crimes,” Dumenko said. EFE