Russian officials are investigating how the remains of 248 aborted human fetuses ended up dumped in a forest in the Ural Mountains, state news outlets reported Tuesday.
The remains were in plastic barrels in a remote woodland near Yekaterinburg, about 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles) east of Moscow, according to the official news agency RIA Novosti. The drums contained medical waste from several clinics in the city that a company had been hired to destroy, the agency reported, citing regional authorities.
Local residents discovered the barrels, which contained the fetuses ranging in age from 12 weeks to 16 weeks, RIA Novosti reported.
The Russian Health Ministry has launched an inquiry, and a member of the Duma, Russia's parliament, says lawmakers want to investigate the discovery as well.
"I hope that the Investigation Committee will establish where this happened: in what residential area, in which hospital and who organized these criminal activities," Olga Batalina, the deputy leader of the Duma's Women, Family and Children Committee, told the Russian newspaper Izvestia.