New images show possible mass graves outside Mariupol as Russian siege continues 4 weeks ago

New images show possible mass graves outside Mariupol as Russian siege continues

Local officials say people are being "dumped in mounds".

New satellite images have shown what appear to be mass graves outside Mariupol.

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Local officials have accused Russia of burying up to 9,000 civilians to hide the slaughter taking place in the Ukrainian city.

Mariupol’s mayor Vadym Boychenko said Russia is “hiding their military crimes” by taking the bodies of civilians to these mass graves and burying them.

He labelled Russian actions in the city as “the new Babi Yar” - a reference to the location of multiple Nazi massacres in 1941 in which nearly 34,000 Ukrainian Jews were killed.

"The bodies of the dead were being brought by the truckload and actually simply being dumped in mounds," an aide to Mr. Boychenko said.

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Mr. Boychenko also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin alone can decide the fate of the civilians trapped in war-torn Mariupol.

"It's important to understand that the lives that are still there, they are in the hands of just one person - Vladimir Putin," he explained in an interview. "And all the deaths that will happen after now will be on his hands too."

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The images were released on Thursday by satellite image provider Maxar Technologies, just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed victory in the battle for Mariupol, saying he had "liberated" the city.

Mariupol is the biggest city to fall into Russian hands since the start of the war.

Russia has denied what Ukraine says is evidence of atrocities, labelling them staged.

Thousands of people are believed to be trapped with little or no food, water, heat or medicine in the city. Over 20,000 people have been killed so far in the siege, according to Ukrainian authorities.

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Earlier this week, Vanda Semyonovna Obiedkova, a 91-year-old Jewish woman who survived the Holocaust, died while sheltering from bombs in a freezing basement in the city.

Feature image via @Maxar on Twitter