DONETSK, February 11. /TASS/. More than 130 mass graves of civilians that were killed during Ukraine’s aggression were found in the Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, the head of the self-proclaimed republic, said at a news conference on Friday.
"On the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic alone, more than 130 mass graves of the victims of the Ukrainian aggression were found and opened," he said. "They are mass graves of civilians that were killed during operations by Ukraine’s armed forces in the DPR in Snezhnoye, Debaltsevo, Khartsyzsk and Ilovaisk."
The head of the DPR said most of the dead were people aged 30 to 60 years. "Among the bodies that were retrieved were the bodies of elderly people, women and children," he said. "People were buried in civilian clothes that they wore at the time of death - so we are talking about civilians."
Most of the people, whose cause of death could be established, were killed by gunshots, mine explosions and shrapnel wounds, as well as by skull injuries caused by blunt objects, Pushilin said. He said authorities started a criminal probe into these facts.
Mass protests erupted in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-speaking population dominates, after the 2014 coup in Kiev and the ousting of then-President Viktor Yanukovich. In response, the government in Kiev started a military operation in Donbass in April 2014. Heavy shelling of residential areas, including by aircraft, prompted a humanitarian disaster in the region. According to UN data, more than 13,000 people were killed from both sides and more than 30,000 people were injured as of January 31, 2021, as a result of the armed conflict.