Updated 11:24 p.m. Moscow time.
NEW YORK, September 26 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow will strongly demand an open and independent investigation into the case of mass graves, recently discovered in eastern Ukraine's conflict-torn Donetsk Region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.
"The last [OSCE] report which was presented in Vienna, confirmed that they were civilians, they were shot at point-blank range, and they could have been abused prior to it. We are very concerned by all this. We cannot accuse anyone as there are no results of the investigation yet, but strongly demand an investigation, an open and independent one," Lavrov told reporters at the UN.
The minister stressed that the investigation should not end up like "the tragedies the responsible for which are being defended," referring to so-called "the Maidan sniper case, and the Odesa, Mariupol tragedy and the Malaysian Boeing."
Lavrov added that he has discussed the issue with UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon, OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier and OSCE Chairman-in-Office Didier Burkhalter.
On September 23, three mass graves, filled with bodies of massacred civilians, killed execution-style, were discovered near the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. Two graves were unearthed on the territory of a coal mine near the village Nyzhnia Krynka north-east of Donetsk, and another one inside the village.
According to Prime Minister of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) Aleksander Zakharchenko, two of the graves contain bodies of civilians. Another one is filled with killed independence forces and Ukrainian soldiers. About 40 bodies have been unearthed so far, Zakharchenko said.
On Wednesday, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission investigating the site of the mass graves also found signs indicating that civilians were among the victims. OSCE also reported that the crime could have taken place in late August.
Moscow called the massacre a war crime and suggested that pro-Kiev National Guard volunteers might have been involved in the incident.