The bodies of 286 women have recently been discovered in the eastern Ukrainian city of Krasnoarmeisk while almost 400 women between the ages of 18 and 25 are still listed as missing, Alexander Zakharchenko, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said Friday.
“Around 400 women between the ages of 18 and 25 have gone missing in Krasnoarmeisk where [Ukrainian forces] Dnepr-1 was based. The bodies of 286 women around Krasnoarmeisk who had been raped have been discovered,” Zakharchenko said at a meeting with students from Donetsk National Technical University.
The city of Krasnoarmeisk is located some 45 kilometers (28 miles) northwest of Donetsk, the capital of the self-proclaimed republic.
An armed conflict broke out in the southeastern regions of Ukraine in April, when Ukrainian forces launched a military operation against Donbas independence supporters who opposed the February coup in Kiev.
The two conflicting sides agreed to a ceasefire on September 5 during a meeting of the trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine in Minsk. A memorandum specifying the implementation of the ceasefire was adopted at another Contact Group meeting on September 19.
Both sides have subsequently accused each other of violating the truce. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s special monitoring mission in the conflict-torn regions continues to report instances of shelling.