KHADZHONKOVO /Donetsk Region/, October 6. /TASS/. The Ukrainian army was involved in the shooting of civilians in the village of Kommunar near the city of Donetsk, the capital of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine, and investigators have proof of that, a DPR regional police chief, Igor Miroshnichenko, said Monday.
Southeastern militias recently found a few mass graves at sites where Ukrainian troops had been stationed. It was reported on September 23 that militiamen found unidentified burial sites near the Kommunarskaya-22 mine in the vicinity of the villages of Kommunar and Nizhnyaya Krynka.
The hands of the discovered corpses were tied, and the bodies were disfigured. After examination of one of the graves, forensic experts concluded that people buried there had been killed by shots to the head at close range.
Earlier, the area was under control of Ukrainian troops - units of the Poltava police, the Dnepr-1 battalion and the 25th Air Mobile Brigade of Ukraine’s Armed Forces. Last year, the DPR police launched a criminal case in connection with the discovery of mass burial sites.
According to Miroshnichenko, it will be hard to bring to account specific perpetrators for murder of civilians, but it is necessary to try to hold accountable the commanders of the so-called antiterrorism operation in Ukraine’s embattled southeast and Ukrainian army units who were there.
“The commanders gave criminal orders, they should be responsible. After the end of the probe, they should be tried not in the DPR but in an international court,” he said.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry, parliamentarians, public and human rights organizations have called for an international probe into the discovery of mass burial sites.
According to the UN, 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 Luhansk regions during Kiev’s military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Luhansk People's 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 plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine.