'The new Auschwitz': Bodies of '10,000 Ukrainians' incinerated in mobile crematoriums

6 April 2022, 15:22 | Updated: 6 April 2022, 15:34

Russian troops are collecting and burning the bodies of "tens of thousands of civilians" in Mariupol
Russian troops are collecting and burning the bodies of "tens of thousands of civilians" in Mariupol. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

Russian troops are collecting and burning the bodies of "tens of thousands of civilians" in Mariupol in an attempt to hide the scale of Moscow's massacre, Ukraine has claimed.

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Mariupol City Council said "Russian mobile crematoriums have been launched" in the city after outrage spread across the West as the horrific killings in Bucha came to light earlier this week.

The city's Mayor said Mariupol can no longer be compared to the tragedies in Chechnya or Aleppo, instead saying "this is the new Auschwitz and Majdanek".

In a statement posted to social media the council said: "Murderers take note of the traces. In Mariupol, Russian mobile crematoriums have been launched.

"After a wide international disclosure of the genocide in Bucha, the higher leadership of the Russian Federation ordered to destroy any evidence of crimes of their army in Mariupol."

One week ago officials estimated 5,000 civilians had been slaughtered in the city, but the council fear the number could now be over 10,000 "given the size of the city, the catastrophic destruction, the duration of the blockade and the strong resistance, the victims".

Read more: 'Butcher of Bucha' behind 'inhuman' war crimes was 'blessed by the Orthodox Church'

Mariupol has been targeted relentlessly by the Russians since the early days of the war.

It is estimated that around 100,000 people are trapped there with little access to food and water.

The statement continued: "This is why Russia is not in a hurry to give the green light to Turkey's mission and other rescue and complete evacuation initiatives of Mariupol.

"Besides, all potential witnesses to the occupiers' atrocities are trying to identify through filter camps and destroy."

Hearing the news mayor of Mariupol Vadim Boychenko said: "The world has not seen the scale of the tragedy in Mariupol since the existence of Nazis concentration camps.

"The Russians have turned our entire city into a death camp. Unfortunately, the creepy analogy is getting more and more confirmation.

"This is no longer Chechnya or Aleppo. This is the new Auschwitz and Majdanek. The world must help punish Putin's inhumans."

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On Wednesday Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg shared his fears that the war in Ukraine could be "a long haul", with Vladimir Putin still intent on eventually taking control of the whole country.

"We have all seen the atrocities that have been committed in Bucha and other places in Ukraine," he said.

"This reveals the true nature of President Putin's war. Any targeting and killing of civilians is a war crime and therefore Nato allies are supporting international efforts to establish all the facts, to investigate and to make sure that perpetrators are punished."

Speaking as Nato foreign minister gathered in Brussels, he said Russia's forces were being moved out of northern Ukraine to redeploy into the Donbas region in the country's east "where we are expecting a major offensive".

"We have seen no indication that President Putin has changed his ambition to control the whole of Ukraine and also to rewrite the international order so we need to be prepared for a long haul."

Read more: Kremlin is 'stupid as well as evil', says ex defence sec

Earlier in the week, mass graves were discovered in Bucha, following the withdrawal of Russian troops.

Bodies lined the streets - some still in their vehicles while others had their hands tied behind their backs.

Russian troops were accused of committing several war crimes in the city including the rape of women and children.

Video filmed by Ukrainian troops in Bucha shows a Ukrainian soldier describing how the Russians mined a children’s play area, and that they found bodies of civilians of all ages lying on the roads.

Other pictures circulated online showed the corpses of several non-combatants who appeared to have been gunned down in cold blood.