Ukrainian authorities have discovered a mass grave of more than 440 bodies in the eastern town of Izium which was recently recaptured from Russian forces, a regional police official said on Thursday (September 15th), adding that some of the people had been killed by bombings and airstrikes. .
Serhiy Bolvinov, the chief investigator of the Kharkiv region police, told Sky News that forensic investigations would be carried out on each body.
“I can say that this is one of the biggest burial sites in a big city in the liberated (areas)… 440 bodies were buried in one place,” Bolvinov said.
“Some died from artillery fire… some died from airstrikes,” he said.
The discovery comes after thousands of Russian troops fled Izium last weekend following a massive counteroffensive by Ukrainian forces. Since the beginning of the month, Ukraine has recovered 8,000 km of land from Russian forces, according to President Volodimir Zelensky.
Reacting to the discovery of mass graves, Zelensky blamed Russia and compared the discovery to what happened in Bucha, on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv, at the start of the invasion in late February by Russian forces.
Ukraine and its Western allies have accused Russian forces of perpetrating war crimes there. Russia has repeatedly denied that it was targeting civilians or committed war crimes.
“Russia is leaving death everywhere behind and must be held accountable for it,” Zelensky said in a video address Thursday evening September 15.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the mass graves were discovered in the recently recaptured town of Izium. Kharkiv’s police chief said one of these mass graves contained 440 bodies.@SehgalRahesha tell you more
— WION (@WIONews) September 16, 2022