Updated 5:36 p.m. Moscow Time
MOSCOW, September 24 (RIA Novosti) – Monitors of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have visited a mass grave near the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk and will deliver a report on the issue later on Wednesday, Russia’s envoy to the organization said.
“The mission was there and made some records. The information will be published in the observers’ report today,” Russia’s OSCE envoy Andrei Kelin said.
“The OSCE cannot carry out is own investigation, but it may assist in coordinating an international probe if it takes place. We are trying to persuade the SMM [special monitoring mission in Ukraine] to pay attention to this issue and assist the investigation,” he said.
It was reported earlier that a mass grave filled with bodies of massacred civilians had been unearthed on the territory of a mine some 60 kilometers away from Donetsk. Four bodies have been recovered so far, including three identified as women.
The local militia leaders have accused pro-Kiev National Guards of these killings, with a senior Russian diplomat saying Wednesday there were grounds to believe that National Guard volunteer forces had previously controlled the area where the bodies were buried.
According to the United Nations' data, the military conflict in eastern Ukraine has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people. The director of the Donetsk Region's health department, Elena Petryaeva, said about 1,300 residents of the region had been killed in the confrontation, with about 3,500 injured. The deputy prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, Andrei Purgin, said Monday that some 4,000 people had lost their lives in the region.
A ceasefire agreement between the Kiev-backed forces and independence supporters of the eastern Ukrainian regions was established on September 5 at a Contact Group meeting in Minsk. Despite the agreement, the opposing sides have accused each other of violating the ceasefire regime. A memorandum of nine provisions that regulate the implementation of the ceasefire was prepared on September 19.