Russian usage of mobile crematoriums in Ukraine

There have been several allegations of Russian mobile crematoriums operating with their forces in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. On 6 April, 2022 Snopes considered it "unproven".


Reports of the use of mobile crematoriums by Russian forces first appeared in 2015 in the Russo-Ukrainian War. Snopes reported former U.S. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry told Bloomberg in 2015 that "[t]he Russians are trying to hide their casualties by taking mobile crematoriums with them [...] They are trying to hide not only from the world but from the Russian people their involvement", and that U.S. Representative Seth Moulton, who traveled to Ukraine in 2015, confirmed the claims.[1] The then-head of the Ukrainian security agency, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, had also at the time reported seven mobile crematoriums having entered militant-held areas of Ukraine in January 2015, with "[e]ach of these crematoriums burns 8–10 bodies per day."[1]

Just before the start of the Russian invasion, the British Ministry of Defense released images of what it claimed were vehicle-mounted crematoriums. The British Secretary of State of Defence Ben Wallace suggested to The Daily Telegraph that they would be used to hide evidence of battlefield casualties, describing them as "chilling".[2] He also suggested it may have been developed to avoid domestic criticism of the war arising from any large visible casualties, stating "[i]t's a very chilling side effect of how the Russians view their forces and for those of you who served, and being a soldier, knowing that trundling behind you is a way to evaporate you if you are killed in battle probably says everything you need to know about the Russian regime."[2] The report subsequently caused The Telegraph to become blocked in Russia.[3][4] The pre-war footage released by the British Ministry of Defense showed text stating the equipment was made by a St. Petersburg company called Tourmaline, describing itself as 'The Russian Incinerator Company', and it being created for the destruction of hazardous biological waste.[2] Snopes reported it had found an upload of the video from 2015, judging the video itself to be a promotional video from August 2013.[1]

Russian invasion

On 3 March, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told reporters that "[t]he Russian people dying here, nobody is counting them, people dying in this war. Do you know they have brought a cremation chamber with them? They're not going to show the bodies to their families. They're not going to tell the mothers that their children died here".[5]

On the 6th of April, the Mariupol City Council accused Russian mobile crematoriums of burning corpses of civilians to hide evidence of war crimes, writing "[k]illers cover their tracks".[6][7] The Council alleged Russian authorities had "ordered the destruction of any evidence of crimes committed by its army in Mariupol" after the international outrage caused by the discovery of the Bucha atrocities.[7] Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko told The Associated Press in April that "[m]obile crematoriums have arrived in the form of trucks: You open it, and there is a pipe inside and these bodies are burned", stating he had several sources telling of methodical burning of corpses by Russian forces.[8] Boychenko stated at that time the civilian death toll could surpass 20,000, accusing Russian forces of blocking humanitarian convoys to conceal the extent of casualties.[8]

See also

  • Gas van


  1. ^ a b c Ibrahim, Nur (24 February 2022). "Is Russia Using Mobile Crematoriums to Hide Evidence of Casualties in Ukraine?". Snopes. Archived from the original on 12 August 2022. Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Nicholls, Dominic (23 February 2022). "Russia deploys mobile crematoriums to follow its troops into battle". Telegraph. Archived from the original on 26 February 2022. Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  3. ^ Karmanau, Yuras; Leicester, John; Keyton, David (21 June 2022). "'Everything that can burn is on fire' as Russia bombards eastern Ukraine". PBS. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 12 August 2022. Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  4. ^ Roth, Andrew (21 June 2022). "Russia blocks Telegraph website over Ukraine reporting". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 August 2022. Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  5. ^ Mackintosh, Eliza (23 March 2022). "The bodies of Russian soldiers are piling up in Ukraine, as Kremlin conceals true toll of war". CNN. Archived from the original on 27 March 2022. Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  6. ^ "Burning bodies: Ukraine accuses Russia of covering up atrocities". Al-Jazeera. 6 April 2022. Archived from the original on 12 August 2022. Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  7. ^ a b Epstein, Jake (6 April 2022). "Ukraine says Russia is using 'mobile crematoriums' to burn the bodies of civilians in Mariupol and hide evidence of war crimes". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 12 August 2022. Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  8. ^ a b Karmanau, Yuras; Schreck, Adam; Anna, Cara (12 April 2022). "Mariupol mayor says siege has killed more than 10K civilians". The Associated Press. Archived from the original on 12 April 2022. Retrieved 12 August 2022.
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