(Reuters) -Satellite images show a 45-foot-long trench dug into the grounds of a Ukrainian church where a mass grave was found this week after Russian forces withdrew from the town of Bucha, a private U.S. company said on Sunday.
Reuters journalists who visited Bucha on Saturday saw bodies lying on the streets of the town, 37 km (23 miles) northwest of the capital Kyiv. A mass grave at one church was still open, with hands and feet poking through the red clay heaped on top.
Ukraine accused Russian forces on Sunday of carrying out a “massacre” in the town, one of many recaptured by Ukrainian troops as Russia regrouped for battles in eastern Ukraine. Russia denied the allegations, calling them a “provocation” by Ukraine.
Maxar Technologies, which collects and publishes satellite imagery of Ukraine, said the first signs of excavation for a mass grave at the Church of St. Andrew and Pyervozvannoho All Saints were seen on March 10.
“More recent coverage on March 31st shows the grave site with an approximately 45-foot-long trench in the southwestern section of the area near the church,” Maxar said.
Reuters could not immediately verify the images. It was not clear if the images disseminated by Maxar were of the same church visited by Reuters journalists on Saturday.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Paul Simao)