900 bodies have been discovered thus far in mass graves surrounding Kyiv, Zelenskyy says

·3 min read
900 bodies have been discovered thus far in mass graves surrounding Kyiv, Zelenskyy says
BUCHA, KYIV PROVINCE, UKRAINE, APRIL 03: Bodies of civilians are seen in a mass grave in the town of Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, after the Ukrainian army secured the area following the withdrawal of the Russian army from the Kyiv region on previous days, Bucha, Ukraine on April 03, 2022. (Photo by Narciso Contreras/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Bodies of civilians are seen in a mass grave in the town of Bucha, Ukraine, on April 3, 2022.Narciso Contreras/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Ukrainian President Zelenskyy said officials have found 900 civilian bodies in mass graves thus far in areas surrounding Kyiv.

  • The body count amounts from mass graves located throughout the Kyiv Oblast, which was under Russian occupation last month.

  • As of Wednesday, the UN estimated there have been nearly 6,000 civilian casualties in Ukraine.

Nine hundred bodies have been discovered in mass graves thus far in areas surrounding the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Friday, walking back an earlier claim about mass graves.

Serhiy Nikiforov, a spokesperson for Zelenskyy, told The Kyiv Independent that the Ukrainian leader initially misspoke in an interview with Polish media earlier Friday when he claimed the single grave contained all 900 bodies.

Though a new mass grave was uncovered in the Kyiv Oblast, the number Zelenskyy mentions represents all bodies uncovered at mass graves around Kyiv, Nikiforov said.

The region was under Russian occupation last month until troops withdrew from around Kyiv in early April. The Russian forces had spent six weeks trying to capture the capital since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an unprovoked invasion of the country.

As of Wednesday, the United Nations estimated nearly 6,000 civilian casualties in Ukraine: 2,787 killed and 3,152 injured. Among those killed, 1,523 were adults and 202 were children.

During an address to the Estonian parliament earlier this month, Zelenskyy estimated that Russia has "forcibly displaced" more than 500,000 Ukrainians to Russia. But Zelenskyy added "no one knows how many people have been killed."

"We have to find all these people," he said, "but we don't even know how many there are."

Vlad Perovskyi, a coroner working in Kyiv, told The Washington Post last week that bodies are being piled in refrigerated trailers in the capital city because morgues couldn't process them quickly enough.

"These morgues were not designed to handle this amount of bodies," Perovskyi said.

Perovskyi said he's performing as many as 10 autopsies a day — only performing internal examinations if the cause of death is unclear from the superficial wounds sustained by the body.

"I'm used to seeing horrible things done to bodies, but I was very shocked to see such horrible treatment of the deceased by the Russians," Perovskyi said. "How can someone shoot a person and then run over the body? Or throw them into ditches. How can someone put a bullet into a dead man's head?"

Earlier this month, another mass grave containing at least 300 bodies was discovered in Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv about 23 miles northwest of the capital. Images and footage of the mass graves shocked the world, prompting global leaders to condemn the alleged civilian killings in Bucha.

Satellite images captured evidence of mass graves in Mariupol as Russian forces ramps up its assault in eastern Ukraine since withdrawing from the capital.

Editor's note: Zelenskyy initially claimed a new mass grave was found containing hundreds of bodies. His spokesperson later backtracked and corrected his earlier statement.

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