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Kiev could have something to hide in investigation of crimes in Ukraine - Lavrov

October 14, 2014, 23:29 updated at: October 15, 2014, 3:10 UTC+3
Lavrov was answering a question from TASS on discussion of mass graves in southeastern Ukraine
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© ITAR-TASS / Zurab Javakhadze

PARIS, October 14. /TASS/. There is an impression that Kiev has something to hide regarding investigation of crimes in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday after a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Lavrov was answering a question from TASS on discussion of mass graves in southeastern Ukraine.

“All crimes committed during the Ukrainian crisis, including the tragedies in Odessa, Mariupol, the crash of the Malaysian Boeing, mass graves, should be investigated,” the Russian top diplomat said.

“We proceed from the assumption that international organizations should display initiative and take more responsibility for completing the investigations,” he said.

“The Ukrainian authorities are obviously not doing enough. We would not like to suspect someone, but there is an impression that they have something to hide,” Lavrov said.

According to the Russian foreign minister, the mass burial sites recently discovered near Donetsk were not discussed during Tuesday’s meeting with Kerry.

“There’s no need to discuss each episode of the Ukrainian tragedy during each conversation with Mr. Kerry,” Lavrov said.

Odessa massacre

The southern Ukrainian city of Odessa saw riots on May 2, during which soccer fans from other cities, as well as Right Sector militants and so-called “Maidan self-defense” representatives from Kiev organized a march along city streets.

Clashes with federalization supporters occurred during the march.

Radicals set ablaze the Trade Unions House, where their opponents hid, and a tent camp where activists were collecting signatures for a referendum on Ukraine’s federalization and for the status of a state language for Russian. The attackers did not let anyone leave the burning Trade Unions House building.

At least 48 people died and 247 were injured in the clashes and the fire in the Trade Unions House. Another 48 people were listed as missing. Some Ukrainian politicians asserted that the death toll reached 116 but that the Kiev authorities concealed the facts.

Mariupol tragedy

In Mariupol in the Donetsk Region, Ukrainian law enforcers opened fire from armored vehicles on participants of a rally held in honor of Victory Day on May 9 who gathered near the building of the local Interior Ministry department and who were trying to prevent its storm. Nine people died and 42 were injured.

Malaysian Boeing crash

On July 17, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 passenger airliner on flight MH17 from the Dutch city of Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur crashed in the Donetsk Region in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

The Dutch Safety Board, which is leading the probe and coordinating the international team of investigators, said in its preliminary report published September 9 that “Flight MH17 with a Boeing 777-200 operated by Malaysia Airlines broke up in the air probably as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.”

Discovery of mass graves

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 in the Donetsk Region.

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. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic police recently launched a criminal case in connection with the discovery of mass burial sites.

Developments in southeast Ukraine

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 Lugansk regions during Kiev’s military operation, conducted since mid-April, to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk 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.

The long awaited ceasefire took effect the same day, but the United States and the EU, however, keep imposing sanctions on Russia and claiming Moscow is involved in hostilities in Ukraine - an allegation Russia has repeatedly denied.

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