A mass grave of Ukrainian soldiers and unknown buried civilians was found in the forest of recently recaptured city of Izium.
Ukrainian authorities found a mass burial site near a recaptured northeastern city previously occupied by Russian forces, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday night, AP reports.
“A mass grave of people was found in Izium in the Kharkiv region. The necessary procedures have already begun there. More information – clear, verifiable information – should be available tomorrow,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly televised address.
Associated Press journalists saw the site in a forest outside Izium on Thursday. A mass grave bore a marker saying it contained the bodies of 17 Ukrainian soldiers. It was surrounded by hundreds of individual graves with only crosses to mark them.
Zelenskyy invoked the names of other Ukrainian cities where authorities said retreating Russian troops left behind mass civilian graves and evidence of alleged war crimes.
“Bucha, Mariupol, now, unfortunately, Izium. … Russia leaves death everywhere. And it must be held accountable for it. The world must bring Russia to real responsibility for this war,” he said.
Russia’s forces left Izium and other parts of the Kharkiv region last week amid a stunning Ukrainian counteroffensive. On Wednesday, Zelenskyy made a rare trip outside Ukraine’s capital to watch the raising of the national flag at Izium’s city hall.
Sergei Bolvinov, a senior investigator for Ukrainian police in the eastern Kharkiv region, told British TV broadcaster Sky News that a pit contained more than 440 bodies was discovered near Izium after Kyiv’s forces swept in. He described the grave as “one of the largest burial sites in any one liberated city.”
“We know that some (of the people buried in the pit) were shot, some died from artillery fire, from so called mine-explosion traumas. Some died from airstrikes. Also, we have information that a lot of bodies have not been identified yet” Bolvinov said.
Ukraine’s deputy interior minister, Yevhen Enin, said Thursday night that evidence of the occupying Russian troops setting up multiple “torture chambers” where both Ukrainian citizens and foreigners were detained “in completely inhuman conditions” was found in cities and towns recaptured during Kyiv’s sweeping advance into the Kharkiv region.
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