Russia’s Cannon Fodder? 2,000 Abandoned Graves In Eastern Ukraine

Abandoned After Burial.
This is a story about two thousand individuals buried during a war. Two thousand people killed in Europe’s on-going war in eastern Ukraine. Nothing new in that you might say.

But there’s a problem with these burials. They are not the graves of civilians. Credible evidence indicates they are the abandoned and overgrown graves of ‘Russia-led’ soldiers. And it appears the ‘Russia-led’ so-called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic,’ is trying very hard to hide all two thousand of them.

For a visual appreciation of the graves and background info, it’s advisable to watch my video > YouTube link. Includes numerous photos/satellite images and confirmation they are from a cemetery in Makiivka. Also details how the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ avoids mentioning them. All support for this video and my YouTube channel is gratefully received. Subs, likes and comments always appreciated.

My YouTube video on the two thousand graves. Sorry for the typo at 5.00. Should read losses, not loses.
Worth watching to get a visual appreciation of the magnitude of the burials & efforts to hide their existence. Images of graves used in the video are copyrighted protected. Please see link below & in video description for more info.

Over the last few years, I’ve regularly reported on these suspicious looking graves. Using Google Earth, the on-going burials of large numbers of people, in what are effectively unmarked graves didn’t make sense. Located in Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast (province) on the outskirts of the city of Donetsk, they lie in a secluded cemetery in the town of Makiivka. During the time of all the suspicious burials, the cemetery has been within the territorial control of the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’. Coordinates 47°59’52.41″N 38° 0’2.89″E

Cemetery location.
Looking West towards the city of Donetsk, this satellite image gives you a sense of just how secluded the cemetery is.

Background.
All the credible evidence points to Russia fully funding and controlling both the so-called ‘Donetsk & Luhansk people’s republics.’ They’ve never presented any credible explanation of how they pay the monthly wages for the reported 35,000 troops within their small territories. How after 7 years, they never run out of ammo, or acquired the epic quantifies of military hardware which dwarf most western countries armies.

Both these ‘Republics’ occasionally report military losses, but the number of fatalities mentioned are always low. With daily firing along the frontline, this minimal fatality rate just isn’t credible. It seems for propaganda purposes, they’re deliberately downplaying their losses. Reporting on the deaths of soldiers every week is not ideal if you’re always wanting fresh recruits, or to put it bluntly – more cannon fodder. Reports of ‘Russia-led’ soldiers poor morale and lack of discipline/training, must contribute towards routine military losses. That and the accuracy of Ukrainian army return fire.

My assessment.
To me, the graves belong to Russian mercenaries and probably regular Russian soldiers. With virtually no headstones etc., the attempts to hide their existence and the fact only basic info is recorded on grave markers, suggests they don’t belong to Ukrainians. It suggests Russia’s Donetsk & Luhansk republics don’t want thousands of Russian burials filling up their official military cemeteries – thereby ruining the Kremlin’s propaganda narrative, that it’s Ukrainian ‘separatist tractor drivers & miners’ doing all the fighting. Casualties from Russia’s widely reported 2014 invasion of eastern Ukraine and subsequent heavy fighting in 2015/16, means it’s possible the cemetery also holds some regular Russian soldiers.

From on-going OSCE reports we know ‘Cargo 200’ vehicles routinely carry what are assumed to be dead Russian soldiers out of Ukraine. Also the deaths of people fighting in ‘occupied Ukraine’ are routinely posted on social media. This knowledge adds to the evidence seen at the Makiivka cemetery, that a good many ‘soldiers’ are routinely killed in the ‘Russia-led’ Republics. Another major factor, is the Kremlin’s likely reluctance to have a steady flow of soldiers graves littering cemeteries across Russia. This may risk unwelcome media attention and perhaps even public anger. So it’s preferable to bury Russians in Ukraine.

My renewed interest in the cemetery was due to the discovery of 2016 photos showing the graves within it. As seen below, the accompanying photo descriptions make it clear they belonged to ‘Russia-led’ soldiers from the ‘Donetsk People’ republic’. Note: The images are available to view on Alamy. These are copyrighted images and like myself, you’ll need to purchase the licence to use/publish them. Link to view them on Alamy website.

Dec 2016: Men carrying coffin of a ‘Donetsk People’s Republic soldier’.

Main points to consider about these Makiivka graves.
Note: To show the approx. 2,000 graves, I’ve used the latest freely available Google Earth image from Aug 2020. With the date from over a year ago, there may have been several hundred additional burials since then.

A: If they hold the remains of 2,000 Ukrainian ‘Separatist’ fighters, why after 7 years does virtually every grave remain without a headstone or decorative features? If Ukrainian, the deceased soldiers families would have attended the cemetery and enhanced their loved ones graves. Seen in the photos, many grave markers don’t even show when people died. All we see are surnames, initials, and row location/position of those buried, this suggesting a list is being kept of those buried. A list that would make for revealing reading.

B: Why does the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic report another cemetery as their ‘official’ military cemetery? Why haven’t they mentioned this one at Makiivka? (See more details of this in the video).

C: Why does the evidence point to coffins being disposed of without ceremony or anyone attending the funerals? This is another factor indicating the graves may hold Russian mercenaries and regular Russian soldiers.

At Makiivka, there appears to be an uncaring conveyor belt of burials. with cheap wooden coffins dumped in trenches & scraps of wood used as grave markers.

Copyrighted Image – please use < link to purchase image licence use. Seen here, a van bring fresh coffins and a mechanical digger digs another trench for them. On Google Earth, as seen here, vans can be routinely seen next to freshly dug graves.

D: When there are much larger and more accessible cemeteries in Donetsk city, why have 2,000 people been buried in this small, remote cemetery? Why have they been buried outside the formal cemetery?

E: Why do the bulk of graves only have scraps of wood marking their graves – with most only having surnames, initials and their row/position within the cemetery marked on them? (See copyrighted header image).

F: Why on many grave markers, is the date a person died not recorded?

May 2014, the cemetery showed no signs of suspicious burials. Seen here, it held several hundred local graves within a formal paved area.
July 2014: The first of the 2,000 graves appeared, in what I have labelled section A.
By Oct 2016, there are now 3 sections, containing around 900 graves.
Aug 2020: Combined in all three sections, there are now around 2.000 graves here. Apart from 1 or 2, none show signs of having headstones or decorative features associated with normal burials.
Close-up of section B. It holds around 1,700 graves. There are approx. 40 rows containing 40 odd graves. Red oblong shows freshly dug graves.
Aug 2020: With section B approaching the track, vehicle tracks and new graves indicate section A is now being extended.
Image from May 2019 shows all three sections heavily overgrown.
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