Ukraine’s KOBZARTSI: Hundreds of cemeteries near front lines will be closed to Ukrainians who wish to visit relatives’ graves for Orthodox Easter this weekend due to the risk of land mines and explosive ordnance.
Residents in the once Russian-occupied village of Kobzartsi in the southwest Mykolaiv region say they are grateful that demining officers were able to free one of the two local graves of risks, allowing them to visit.
“Thank God that (deminers) came through here. We’ll go to the cemetery as usual and celebrate Easter. “The fact that we are alive is the most important thing,” said Olena Yarova, a 46-year-old peasant.
Many Ukrainians visit their loved ones’ graves during Easter to pay their condolences and clean up the graves.
Out of the 1,200 persons who resided in Kobzartsi before Russia invaded in February 2022, only 42 remain. Fighting has left an enormous amount of deadly war debris in Ukraine.
According to the head of the demining squad at Kobzartsi, they discovered munitions and debris on the ground.
“There is a 100 percent chance of shrapnel wounds if it goes off nearby.” “In 90% of such cases, a person dies after being hit with such munitions,” stated officer Vladyslav Hrytsai.
The second cemetery was not demined, and Lidiia Osypenko, 74, stated, “We will only go after the deminers.” We will not be able to proceed without them. It is risky to proceed in this manner.”
After months of occupation, the settlement was liberated in November when Ukrainian forces reclaimed a section of the Kherson region that had been occupied immediately after Russia’s invasion began.
The governor of Kherson area, parts of which are still occupied, has put a moratorium on grave visits this Easter. 753 graves have been closed in the northeastern Kharkiv region, which is now in Ukrainian hands following a brief Russian occupation.