The remains of around 700 World War II victims might be buried in the territory of Lithuania's Air Base in Siauliai, the Ministry of National Defense said on Thursday.
Lietuvos karinių oro pajėgų lėktuvas L-39
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

Such preliminary conclusions were provided to the air base's leadership by archeologists following an exploratory archeological survey.

It was commissioned by the air base after the remains of unknown people were discovered during ongoing construction work last summer to install a rainwater pipeline track for a new cargo distribution site.

There are some 70-80 burials sites of various sizes in an area of some 12 ares. Individual people were buried in some of them, and there are up to 10 remains in some places. There was also one mass grave found, with several dozen people buried.

The archeologists believe the remains of over 700 people might be disorderly buried over the territory. More archeological research is needed to say who was buried there and whether they were soldiers only or there might be civilians among them.

"We had no information about any burial sites in this territory, and the territory is not on the list of protected immovable cultural valuables. Therefore, we informed respective institutions upon finding the remains and commissioned initial archeological research to find out whose remains they are and, most importantly, how many burials sites there are and in what area," Lieutenant Colonel Antanas Mautlis, chief of the Air Base, said in a statement.

The initial archeological research started late last year but was halted due to weather conditions.

According to the Ministry of National Defense, Siauliai City Municipality will set up a special commission to submit proposals on who to organize the removal, reburial and commemoration and the found remains.

The Department of Cultural Heritage, the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have all been informed by this case.

The construction work around the localized burial site at the Air Base has been halted.

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