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Tuesday, 16 July, 2002, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Mass grave found at Ukrainian monastery
Human remains found at the monastery in the town of Zhovkva in western Ukraine
Experts say more than a third of the victims were children
The remains of more than 100 people found under the floors of a monastery in western Ukraine could belong to victims of Stalinist purges after the World War II, experts say.

Josef Stalin
Historians believe up to 20 million Soviets died during Stalin's rule
The bodies were found during renovation works in the town of Zhovkva in the region of Lviv, said Bohdan Kondrat, a member of local cultural organisation said.

He said the bodies - some of them carrying the signs of bullets - had been piled in several tiers and covered with construction waste. More than third of them were children.

Some forensic scientists believe they were victims of the repression by the Stalinist secret police - the much feared NKVD - in the late 1940s.

Scientists say that an NKVD unit was stationed in the monastery's buildings at the time.

Older local residents say that unexplained disappearances of people was not unusual during the purges.

Last week, a similar mass grave was found in the Russian Supreme Court building in central Moscow.

Some Ukrainian and Western historians estimate tens of millions of people were executed or sent to death camps in the Stalinist purges across Eastern Europe between the 1930s and 1950s.

See also:

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