A mass grave of Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries has been discovered at a remote burial ground in Siberia, according to a report backed by video evidence.
Some 200 freshly dug graves decorated with wreaths bearing symbols associated with the notorious paramilitary organization have been observed at the Gusynobrodske cemetery in the city of Novosibirsk.
The independent Russian news site Sibir.Realii reported that it received video recordings from eyewitnesses showing “scores” of graves belonging to people who died between Nov. 2022 and Jan. 2023, based on information written on memorial plaques.
The news outlet reported that almost all the graves were festooned with elaborate funerary floral arraignments displaying a yellow star and a black cross, which are traditionally used by the Wagner Group.
Satellite images of the area taken in the years before the war in Ukraine did not show any burial sites in that section of the cemetery where the video of the alleged Wagner graves was taken.
Earlier this month, another independent Russian news site, Tayga.info, reported that the Gusynobrodske burial ground contained the remains of at least four natives of the Tuva Republic in southern Siberia, which is located more than 560 miles west of Novosibirsk.
Tayga.info and Sibir-Realii together have identified the four men, all of whom had criminal histories that included convictions for an array of charges, including drug offenses, thefts and robberies.
The telegram channel New Tuva reported that relatives of the fallen soldiers laid to rest in Novosibirsk were not notified of their deaths in battle.
The Wagner Group, businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin’s private army, has been leading the fight to capture the key city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, which has seen some of the bloodiest battles of the conflict.
At the start of the war, Wagner had recruited reportedly up to 40,000 convicts from Russia’s sprawling penitentiary system, with Prigozhin offering them a pardon if they survived six months on the battlefields of Ukraine.
The Institute for the Study of War think tank reported earlier this month that Wagner’s private force has lost possibly close to half of its 50,000 fighters.
Reuters reported in January about another secret Wagner cemetery, which sprung up last summer on the outskirts of Bakinskaya village in Krasnodar region in southern Russia.
The news agency documented around 200 graves adorned with wooden crosses and wreaths bearing the familiar Wagner insignia.
Like in Novosibirsk, Reuters found that many of the men buried at Bakinskaya were convicts, among them contract killer, murderers and career criminals.
Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti released footage in early January of Prigozhin visiting the cemetery in Krasnodar, crossing himself and laying flowers on one grave.