VORZEL, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukrainian investigators exhumed seven bodies from makeshift graves in a forest near Kyiv on Monday and police said they were civilians who had been killed by Russian forces during their occupation of the area.
The bodies were found outside the village of Vorzel, less than 10 kilometres from the town of Bucha, where Kyiv alleges that Russian forces who occupied the area carried out systematic executions in an abortive attempt to capture the capital. Russia denies that.
“This is another sadistic crime of the Russian army in the Kyiv region,” Kyiv region’s police chief, Andriy Nyebytov, said on Facebook.
One of the exhumed bodies was that of a man around 40 years old in plain clothes, Nyebytov told Reuters at the site of the graves.
“He has two injuries. He was shot in the knee with a gun. The second shot was into his temple,” he said.
Russia’s defence ministry did not immediately reply to an emailed request for comment.
Investigators said it would take time to clearly identify the bodies because they had decomposed.
Ukraine says mass graves were found in April containing more than 400 bodies.
Russian officials have dismissed the mass graves in Bucha as a “fabrication” staged by Ukrainian authorities after Russian forces left the town at the end of March. Russia says it does not target civilians in what it calls a “special military operation”.
(Reporting by Valentyn Ogirenko and Anna Voitenko; writing by Max Hunder; editing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by David Gregorio)