World War II mass grave found in southern Russia

Russian historians have tracked down a mass grave on a remote front in World War II believed to contain the remains of 1 000 German and Soviet soldiers, a researcher said on Wednesday.

“It’s a World War II grave with the remains of German and Soviet soldiers. We were looking for it for two years,” said Alan Tatarov, head of a local historical association based in the southern Russian city of Vladikavkaz.

In 1942, Nazi troops tried unsuccessfully to take Vladikavkaz in a drive to reach the rich oil fields of Azerbaijan. Local researchers have already found the remains of hundreds of soldiers and war planes in the area.

The grave was found just outside the town of Ardon, about 40km north-east of Vladikavkaz, during routine construction work on Monday and the exhumation of the bodies is expected to start next week, Tatarov said.

“We knew there was a grave around there but we could never find it.
Then it was found by chance. The bulldozers opened up the grave ... There was a huge quantity of bones and camouflage uniforms,” Tatarov said.—AFP

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