FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show A Mass Grave For Russian Soldiers Killed in Ukraine?
A video shared on Facebook claims to show a mass graveyard for Russian soldiers who were killed during the invasion of Ukraine.
The video is from 2021 and shows graves being dug in a Russian city ahead of winter. The video has nothing to do with the invasion of Ukraine.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) estimates that up to 40,000 Russian soldiers have been killed, wounded, taken prisoner or are missing in Ukraine since the outset of the war, according to The Wall Street Journal. A video shared on Facebook claims to show a graveyard in Russia where hundreds of plots have been dug to bury those killed in the conflict.
“Hundreds of graves have been dug in the cemeteries of Russia – they are waiting for the burial of Russian cargo 200, which is starting to come from Ukraine,” the post’s caption claims, adding that the rate of Russian soldiers dying in Ukraine was “a thousand a day.”
The video predates the invasion of Ukraine. A reverse image search revealed the footage circulated on Twitter in October 2021, months before the invasion began. Russian media outlets reported on it in 2021, explaining it shows a graveyard in Surgut, Russia. The staff of the graveyard told Russian media outlets the graves were being pre-dug ahead of winter when the ground would freeze making it difficult to dig.
The mayor of Surgut, Andrey Filatov, also debunked the rumor in a March 7 Instagram post, according to Reuters. (RELATED: Did The Russian Ambassador To The UN Say That Donald Trump Was Overthrown?)
“At that time, the graves were being prepared for winter,” said Filatov. “This is a standard procedure for earthworks in northern cities. Due to the fact that we have rather low temperatures in winter, all work of this specific nature is carried out in advance. This has been practiced for at least 15 years.”