Highlights

  • Russia claims 152 bodies of Ukraine fighters found
  • Bodies found in a van in Azovstal steel plant
  • '4 mines placed under the van to save Zelenskyy's reputation'

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Russia said that the bodies were stored in a van with a non-working cooling system and four mines had been placed underneath the van.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday its forces had discovered 152 bodies of Ukrainian fighters in the underground tunnels of the Azovstal steel plant.

Speaking at a regular press briefing, defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that the bodies were stored in a van with a non-working cooling system.

He said four mines had been placed underneath the van.

Konashenkov accused the Ukrainian forces of placing the mines deliberately in order to "accuse Russia of deliberately destroying the remains of the bodies and preventing them from being taken out for transfer to relatives so that the political reputation of the Kyiv regime and that of (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelenskyy personally be saved."

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"Let me remind you that before being taken prisoner, the Azov command publicly appealed to Zelenskyy to take the bodies of the dead so that the families could bury them in the territory controlled by the Kyiv regime, however, there were no requests from Kyiv to get the bodies of the dead from the Azovstal plant," he added.

The AP has not been able to verify these claims.

Konashekov said Russia planned to transfer the bodies over to Ukrainian officials "in the near future".

The Ministry also released footage on Tuesday of 122 mm D-30 howitzers and multiple rocket launchers firing rounds.

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