Both pro-Kiev forces and independence supporters have been involved in extrajudicial killings in eastern Ukraine, however, there is no substantial evidence of mass killings near Donetsk, Amnesty International said in a report published Monday.
“There is no doubt that summary killings and atrocities are being committed by both pro-Russian separatists and pro-Kyiv forces in Eastern Ukraine, but is difficult to get an accurate sense of the scale of these abuses. It is likely that many have not yet been exposed and that others have been deliberately misrecorded,” Europe and Central Asia Director of the human rights body John Dalhusien was quoted as saying in a press release attached to the report.
According to the 20-page paper titled “Summary Killings during the Conflict in Eastern Ukraine,” an Amnesty International delegation visited the area near eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk three days after the discovery of mass graves. The human rights body identified a total of nine bodies, four of them civilians, apparently executed by Kiev-controlled forces.
Amnesty International, however, accused Russian authorities of exaggerating the scale of extrajudicial violence in eastern Ukraine.
“The reality behind Russian claims of ‘mass graves’ in Nyzhnya Krynka is grizzly enough. It points to extra-judicial killing of four local residents by either regular Ukrainian armed forces or volunteer battalions operating in the area. These must now be investigated thoroughly. But it also shows the extent to which accusations of abuses are being inflated, particularly by the Russian authorities, in the parallel propaganda war,” Dalhuisen said as quoted in the press release.
Independence supporters in southeastern Ukraine believe that the civilians found in mass graves on September 23 were murdered by pro-Kiev National Guard fighters, who were staying near Donetsk from April. Ukrainian authorities have denied the accusation, saying that not a single National Guard fighter had been in the area, adding, though, that some other Ukrainian units were deployed there at the time.
In October, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that mass graves found near the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine in late September contained over 400 bodies. The Russian Investigative Committee claimed it had irrefutable evidence of the National Guard and the Right Sector nationalist group’s participation in the mass killings.