Friday, September 16, 2022

Ukraine: mass burial sites found in wake or Russian retreat ...

Izium, Ukraine

Complied from various sources:

Even the heavy rainfall couldn’t erase the smell of death in the pine forest in Izium on Friday afternoon, as Ukrainian investigators worked their way through a mass burial site found in the eastern Ukrainian city after its recapture from Russian forces.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said at least 440 “unmarked” graves were found in the city in recent days. The country’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday that some of the bodies found in Izium showed “signs of torture,” blaming Russia for what he called “cruelty and terrorism.”

Izium was subject to intense Russian artillery attacks in April. The city, which sits near the border between the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, became an important hub for the invading military during five months of occupation. Ukrainian forces took back control of the city on Saturday, delivering a strategic blow to Russia’s military assault in the east.

Wooden crosses, most of them marked with numbers, were discovered in a forest outside the city by advancing Ukrainian forces.

Authorities said they would start exhuming some of the graves on Friday.


It is not yet clear what happened to the victims.
Speaking on Friday, the head of Ukraine's national police service said most of the bodies belonged to civilians.

Ihor Klymenko told a news conference that although soldiers were also believed to be buried there, there was so far no confirmation. Earlier, Ukrainian authorities told the BBC more than 400 bodies were thought to be buried at the site.

Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, that "many places of mass burials" had been discovered in some liberated areas.

"We saw many places where people were tortured," Mr Podolyak said. "We saw wildly frightened people who were kept without light, without food, without water, and without the right to justice. Because there was no authority there, there were only people with weapons."


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