Russian Interior Ministry via EPA
Investigators working at the site where plastic barrels containing human fetuses were found in a forest near Nevyansk on Sunday.
A Russian fisherman made a gruesome discovery Sunday when he stumbled upon four barrels of human fetuses in a forest in the Ural Mountains, police said Tuesday.
The fetuses were found several miles away from a highway linking the region's capital, Yekaterinburg, with another big city, Nizhny Tagil. Officials believe that they may have come from four local hospitals and have started an investigation.
"It seems the company responsible for disposal of the bio-medical waste did not carry out its duties," the deputy head of the regional government, Vladimir Vlasov, said on state television.
Police said the 248 fetuses were preserved in formaldehyde. Photographs from the site showed fetuses with tags scrawled with numbers and inscriptions that Russian media said were family names. The fetuses have since been placed in a local morgue.
Resident Sergei Tvritinov told state television that his friend spotted the barrels while fishing.
“He ran into some water canisters and wanted to take them home, but when he came closer he saw little baby bodies," Tveritinov said.
The Health Ministry said it had ordered a check of local hospitals to prevent such incidents occurring again.
"The rude violation of medical ethics causes indignation," the ministry said in a statement. "It's inadmissible from both the moral and legal viewpoint."
The Russian Orthodox Church used the incident to emphasize its opposition to abortions.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
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