Mass grave of at least 440 bodies discovered in Kharkiv after city liberated by Ukrainian forces

16 September 2022, 09:35

Ukrainian forces find mass grave in Izyum, pic: Ukraine Defence Military
Ukrainian forces find mass grave in Izyum, pic: Ukraine Defence Military. Picture: Twitter. @DefenceU

By StephenRigley

Ukrainian forces have discovered a mass burial site in the city of Izyum, days after liberating the region from the Russian military.

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The burial site contains more than 440 bodies, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy revealed in his nightly address to the nation on Thursday evening.

“A mass grave of people was found in Izyum in the Kharkiv region. The necessary procedures have already begun there. More information - clear, verifiable information - should be available tomorrow,” the Ukrainian president said.

It is understood that those found dead had died in Russian air raids. There are also signs that some of the graves belong to Ukrainian soldiers.

"Russia leaves death everywhere and must be held responsible,” Zelenskyy said.

"We want the world to know what is really happening and what the Russian occupation has led to. Bucha, Mariupol, now, unfortunately, Izyum," he said.

President Zelenskyy recently visited the region on Kharkiv after its liberation
President Zelenskyy recently visited the region on Kharkiv after its liberation. Picture: Getty

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Ukraine previously said they found mass graves in these cities, as they again accuse Russia of war crimes.

There will be further information later on Friday as exhumations begin. Ukrainian forces are also aware of other possible mass grave sites in the region.

Sergei Bolvinov, a senior investigator for Ukrainian police in the region told Sky News that this was “one of the largest burial sites in any one liberated city”.

“We know that some [of the people buried in the mass grave] were shot, some died from artillery fire, from so called mine-explosion traumas. Some died from air strikes. Also, we have information that a lot of bodies have not been identified yet,” Mr Bolvinov said.

The head of the Ukrainin President’s office, Andriy Yermak, tweeted an image of the alleged mass grave with many wooden crosses raised across the war-torn ground.

Russia continues to deny Ukraine’s allegations of targeting civilians or committing war crimes.

Ukrainian forces liberated Izyum and a number of other cities in the Kharkiv region in the past few days. Thousands of square miles of territory was recaptured after a lightning counter-attack against the Russian occupiers. This handed Kyiv some of the most strategically important towns and cities in the northeast of the country.

Within just a few days, Ukraine regained the region that took Russians months to capture. This handed Russia one of the biggest setbacks since the start of the war back in February.

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