Russian forces claim to have found four undetonated landmines placed beneath the bodies of 152 dead Ukrainian soldiers at the sprawling Azovstal steelworks plant in Mariupol.

The Russian defence ministry’s official spokesman Igor Konashenkov claimed Kyiv deliberately attempted to destroy the remains.

“Based on the results of interrogations of the captured Azov militants, it was established that the plan to blow up the bodies was a direct order from Kyiv. The purpose was to accuse Russia of deliberately destroying the remains of the bodies and prevent them from being taken out for transfer to relatives,” Konashenkov said.

Officials in the Ukrainian capital, meanwhile, have long-accused Moscow of abandoning their servicemen who died in battle

The armed forces say they have collected hundreds of bodies since March to be transported across the border. They say the Kremlin has repeatedly ignored calls to retrieve their dead. Moscow has denied the claims

An agreement to transfer the bodies is still unresolved.

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