“Mariupol has become the new Auschwitz,” said Vadym Boychenko, the mayor of the city on the Sea of Azov. On Telegram, Boychenko reports of “mobile cremation ovens” that the Russians would use to eliminate evidence of their barbarism. For hide another BuchaIn short.
On Twitter, many users, including the official profile of the Belarusian media Nexta, which chronicles the war in Ukraine in real time, accompanied Boychenko’s statements with a photo of an alleged mobile crematorium – installed on a common truck – used in Mariupol.
A search carried out through TinEye, a site that allows you to upload an image and check if it is already present online, reveals that that photo has been circulating online for some time: at least since 2015, as a Business Insider article testifies.
Furthermore, the image appeared on Twitter is a screenshot from a 2013 video documenting the functioning of a mobile incinerator belonging to the Zao Turmalin company of St. Petersburg. In the summary of the video, on YouTube, we read that the images refer to the “test of a plant for the incineration of biological waste through the mobile crematorium IN-50.1K”. (link)
but yet the secret services of the Ukrainian government, in the voice of Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, they made it known “that Russia is trying to hide its crimes and for this reason it is using mobile crematory ovens in Mariupol to burn the corpses of women and children. He is also using the same crematorium ovens for his own army. They brought them from Crimea and are also using them to burn their own soldiers, so that they don’t see them in Russia, imagine if they were to see thousands of corpses returning to their homeland. “
They do not exist, at the time of writing (morning of April 7), clear evidence the presence (and use) of these mobile crematory ovens in Mariupol.
For this reason, some independent Ukrainian media, such as Zaborona Media, have also decided not to publish official statements by the municipality of Mariupol on the crematory ovens, at least until they have evidence of their existence. One of the managing editors, Katerina Sergatskova, writes on Twitter: “The problem is serious, so let’s first try to find the evidence. More than 100,000 people remain in the besieged and demolished city ”.
The evidence, in fact. Twitter and Telegram users – after what happened in Bucha – are already moving, by appealing to experts and companies that deal with satellite imagery. One of these, Maxar Technologies, with his photos has helped to refute the statements of the Russian government on Bucha massacreshow the corpses of Ukrainian civilians lying in the street well before the withdrawal of Putin’s army.
In recent weeks, Maxar herself has documented from above the destruction and despair that Mariupol is experiencing. Among the most significant images, in addition to the destroyed buildings, the crowd massed in front of a Metro department store, where humanitarian aid is distributed: it is one of the few testimonies of life forms in the port city.
Another important shot is the one that portrays the building occupied in the city by the Red Cross, which was not spared despite the evident symbol on the roof.
As you can imagine, and as the Minister for Digital Transformation Fedorov also said, internet connection in war-affected areas of Ukraine is problematic. The satellite images represent the only tool capable of documenting – with certainty – what is happening and has happened in the past weeks in Mariupol. If these mobile cremation ovens exist, theoretically they cannot escape satellites.
Fedorov, Ukrainian tech minister: “I, on the front line without bullets, use cyber weapons”
by Pier Luigi Pisa
“It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack” writes a user on Twitter, about the analysis of detailed images to the discovery of a truck a few meters long among the ruins of the city. Someone suggests focusing on online tools capable of highlighting the thermal anomalies of a certain area: the NASA “Firms” map for fireswhich offers real-time images from the satellite and is open to all, “could be useful”.
A similar tool is Sentinel Hub’s maps, based on images taken by the ESA Sentinel-2 satellite. The limitations of the Nasa and ESA services, however, are the resolution of the images, which are not as detailed as those of Maxar.
However, the Nasa and Sentinel maps could give useful indications to narrow the circle. Or to check the state of the crematorium activity which is – as some users have indicated on both Twitter and Telegram – north of the city.
This facility, if the Russians really intended to cremate bodies, could be more effective than oven trucks. As some users on Twitter point out, the cremation of a single human body requires considerable energy and time. A vehicle like the one taken back in 2013 would need a significant amount of fuel or energy supplied from outside to function as a crematorium.
There is no doubt that in Mariupol some local pro-Putin teams are handling the bodies of the people killed. This is evidenced by the photos released by Reuters, in which the corpses are seen piled up on trucks with refrigerated cells. In the description of the images it says that the bodies are transported to the morgue.
Videos and images of the besieged city however, they continue to arrive on Twitter and Telegram. The Mariupol Now account constantly posts pictures of the devastated buildings. The militiamen of the Ukrainian Azov battalion, which continue to fight the Russians in the city, also publish videos taken by drones. The most recent is this from 4 April:
In any case no video released in recent weeks contains any clues that could suggest mobile cremation ovens. It is also true that it is practically impossible to monitor and film from the ground all areas of Mariupol and even those in its vicinity. This is why satellite imagery is essential to understand the past and future of the over 100 thousand people who once lived in the peaceful town of Mariupol.
At least 5 thousand inhabitants, according to what mayor Boychenko has declared, have died. Many others could be found under the rubble of destroyed buildings.