A national war memorial cemetery for Ukraine’s fallen soldiers and others has been earmarked for Bykivnia, a significant historical site, in outer Kyiv on the east bank of the Dnipro, Kyiv’s Mayor Vitaly Klitschko announced today, April 20.

“The city of Kyiv has today set aside the land and started the process of creating a national war memorial cemetery in Bykivnia,” Klitschko said on the city’s Telegram feed.

“Now, it’s establishment is the responsibility of the national government and its place has been selected by the national government,” he said.

“We are ready to provide all possible means to advance the established of the memorial to our heroes.”

The Bykivnia woodland has long been an important historical site.

From the early 1920s until the late 1940s throughout the Stalinist purges, the Soviet Russian government hauled the bodies of tortured and killed political prisoners to the pine forests outside the village of Bykivnia. To date, 210 separate mass graves have been identified by Polish and Ukrainian archaeologists working at the site, including one that measures 15,000 square meters.

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The number of dead bodies buried at Bykivnia is estimated to be between 30,000 to 100,000 with some estimates as high as 200,000. This includes the bodies of Polish prisoners of war killed in 1940 by the NKVD. The Bykivnia site was only revealed after the collapse of the USSR.

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The site earmarked for the new memorial at Bykivnia is eight hectares (20 acres) in size and is currently owned by the city of Kyiv. Next door to the city-owned block are 90 more hectares (222 acres) that are currently owned by Ukraine’s national government. 

The city of Kyiv had previously proposed a site on Lysa Hora, but it was not met with community support.

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