Politics

Ukrainians brave Russian-mined cemetery to mourn the dead

Natalia Evdokimova, 46, mourns her son Dmytro Evdokimov, 23, who was killed in a battlefield close to Izium in Kharkiv area, beside his grave on the cemetery in Trostianets, Sumy area, Ukraine April 16, 2022.(REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra)

TROSTYANETS, Ukraine — The handmade signal on the gate warns “The cemetery is mined. Danger.” however residents of the previously occupied city of Trostyanets in northern Ukraine nonetheless come to go to the contemporary graves of household killed within the warfare.

The graveyard on this city in Sumy area has solely been partly made protected since Russian forces planted mines there as they pulled again in early April, cemetery supervisor Olena Matvienko mentioned.

“De-mining teams came later and de-mined it partially. Then they didn’t go further inside,” Matvienko mentioned on Saturday, standing within the cemetery the place quite a lot of gravestones had been shattered or riddled with bullet holes.

Some areas had been nonetheless harmful for individuals, she mentioned.

Even so, mourners gathered round completely different graves, some clutching bunches of spring flowers.

One of these disregarding the warnings was Natalia Evdokimova, 46. She and her husband had been visiting the grave of their son Dmytro, a Ukrainian soldier who was killed on the northeastern frontline on March 29 and buried again dwelling quickly after Russian forces left the realm.

She mentioned her son, who was preventing close to the city of Izyum within the Kharkiv area, had been most fearful about what would possibly occur to his dad and mom below Russian occupation.

“‘Mom, leave, it will be too dangerous in Trostyanets,’” Evdokimova recalled him saying, tears spilling down her cheeks. “And he went to hell himself, near Izyum. And died there.”

Her husband stood silently on the flower-heaped grave. Before they left, Evdokimova reached each her fingers in the direction of a framed picture of her son that was hooked up to the grave marker, as if attempting to hug him.

Russia denies its troops are killing or focusing on civilians or have carried out warfare crimes in occupied areas of Ukraine for the reason that Feb. 24 invasion. Reuters couldn’t independently confirm casualty estimates or accounts of deaths in Trostyanets.

The cemetery supervisor mentioned an extra 20 individuals had just lately been buried within the cemetery, who had died whereas Trostyanets was occupied.

Mayor Yuri Bova informed Reuters that at the least 50 persons are estimated to have died or been killed whereas Russian forces managed the city, which had a pre-war inhabitants of round 20,000.

“Some of them were just shot on the street, some were found with tied hands, eyes taped. We found people in villages shot in the head,” he mentioned.

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