Mass grave of UPA soldiers unearthed in Lviv Oblast

UPA

Photo: Lviv Regional Council municipal enterprise Dolya Memorial Search Centre 

History, Ukraine

Article by: Christine Chraibi

The remains of 16 UPA soldiers, including one woman, were found near the village of Sokolivka, Lviv Oblast.

A solemn ceremony will be organized and the remains (15 men and one woman) will be reburied in the local cemetery on October 15, 2021.

UPA

Photo: Lviv Regional Council municipal enterprise Dolya Memorial Search Centre

UPA

Photo: Lviv Regional Council municipal enterprise Dolya Memorial Search Centre

On Wednesday, October 6, Sviatoslav Sheremeta, head of the Lviv Regional Council municipal enterprise Dolya Memorial Search Centre informed that a mass grave of UPA soldiers had been found in a large field near the village of Sokolivka during search expeditions in the summer of 2021.

UPA

Photo: Lviv Regional Council municipal enterprise Dolya Memorial Search Centre

The position of the excavated remains shows that the bodies of the dead UPA soldiers were chaotically thrown into the pit and hastily buried.

“We’re carrying out more search work, exhumation, and anthropological research. It’s very likely there was a battle in the area. Studies showed that many of the dead soldiers sustained gunshot wounds, typical of combat wounds, but not execution wounds. We also defined many traumatic brain injuries caused by a blunt object, most likely a rifle butt. It’s highly likely that the NKVD liquidated all the wounded soldiers. This was their modus operandi – liquidation of prisoners-of-war and wounded enemy soldiers,” said Sviatoslav Sheremeta.

The first analyses showed that all the men and the woman were fairly young. Small personal belongings were found on several bodies. The position of the remains shows that the bodies of the fallen UPA soldiers had been taken from the battlefield and chaotically thrown into the pit.

UPA

Photo: Lviv Regional Council municipal enterprise Dolya Memorial Search Centre

UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) was a nationalist partisan formation that engaged in a series of guerrilla conflicts all over Ukraine during WWII against Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and Poland. The insurgent army arose out of separate militant formations of the OUN, other militant national-patriotic units, and the mobilization of the local population. The political leadership belonged to the Stepan Bandera faction. Stepan Bandera (1909-1959) was murdered in Munich by KGB assassin Bohdan Stashynsky, who acted on the orders of Soviet KGB head Aleksandr Shelepin and Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev.

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