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Russian rights council demands independent probe into discovery of burial near Donetsk

September 23, 2014, 23:21 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Fedotov said “all efforts should be made at the site to ensure an independent international investigation and access to the site for international human rights advocates and journalists”
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Mikhail Fedotov

Mikhail Fedotov

© ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, September 23. /ITAR-TASS/. The head of the Russian Federation’s presidential Council for Development of Civil Society and Human Rights (HRC) on Tuesday demanded an independent international investigation and access of rights activists to the place of a mass burial near the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk.

“I am outraged and deeply shocked by reports on hidden burials,” Mikhail Fedotov told Itar-Tass.

Fedotov said “all efforts should be made at the site to ensure an independent international investigation and access to the site for international human rights advocates and journalists.”

First and foremost, he said, “a Russian-Ukrainian working group of human rights activists should promptly address the issue; a joint mission should immediately be sent to the scene of this horrible crime”.

“This should not be left without consequences,” Fedotov said, adding that he will not be surprised “if other hidden burial sites are revealed too”.

“These are realities of a modern civil war, and such atrocities were discovered on the territory of former Yugoslavia,” he said.

Earlier Tuesday, representatives of the militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) discovered a mass grave at a forest depot some 60 kilometers from Donetsk.

“It is probably a mass burial. There are plans to hold exhumation, and the entire territory will be inspected. Other burials have also been discovered. They will be opened,” the representative told Itar-Tass.

DPR prosecutors said the facts will be investigated. The militia specified that four bodies had been found so far, some of them beheaded. Two days ago, Ukraine’s national guard units were stationed at the site.

Some 3,500 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled Ukraine’s war-torn southeast as a result of clashes between Ukrainian troops and local militias in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions during Kiev’s military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk republics.

The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on cessation of fire during talks mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed his seven-point plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine.

The long hoped-for ceasefire took effect the same day, but reports said it has been occasionally violated.

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