Donetsk, Sep 7 - DAN. Experts of the inter-departmental Commission for the search for missing persons and burial sites in Donbass conflict zones launched the exhumation of human remains in the Debaltsevo area on Tuesday, the office of Donetsk People’s Republic ombudswoman Darya Morozova reported.

Initial inspection of the site found jaw fragments, a collarbone and a rib on ground surface. Further examination suggested a possible location of a grave.

After top soil stripping, a skeletonized corpse in civilian clothes was found. The body was retrieved to the surface. Prosecutors documented the exhumation. In 2015, the Ukrainian army had a checkpoint on the Kharkov-Rostov highway in this area.

The remains were sent to a forensic laboratory. The excavation at the site is ongoing.

Debaltsevo, a key railway junction in Donbass was liberated from Ukrainian forces on February 18, 2015. This event wrapped up the joint special operation of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which went down in military history as Debaltsevo Operation. The fighting for the town lasted about three weeks; a large group of Ukrainian troops was encircled. Escaping from the encirclement, Ukrainian army units left behind dozens of pieces of hardware and weapons and ammunition stocks. They also blasted service lines; some 80 percent of houses in Debaltsevo were ruined. There is no accurate data on the losses of the conflicting parties or civilian casualties. Many residents are still listed as missing.

On August 19, the inter-departmental commission which includes prosecutors carried out the first exhumation of victims of fighting  at the Ovsyanoye cemetery in Snezhnoye. The bodies of four people were exhumed in the first hours of work. One of the exhumed bodies belonging to a man had a gunshot wound to the head, the other victim, also a man, had a mine blast trauma of the limbs. He had been buried burnt. Remains of 15 people have been found in that area since, according to the latest reports.*jk