A mass grave has been discovered in the city of Izyum, which Ukrainian forces recently retook from the Russian military, world agencies reported. The news was announced by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“We want the world to know what the Russian occupation has caused,” he said, without elaborating on the number of people buried in the mass grave or the causes of their deaths. Zelensky said only that an investigation had begun and more confirmed and clear information would be available later in the day.
At the same time, however, Sergiy Botvinov, a representative of the regional police in Kharkiv region, where Izyum is located, told Sky News that a place with about 440 graves had been discovered in the city. Some of the deceased in them were killed by gunshots and others were victims of bombings, he added.
Zelensky, for his part, compared Izyum with the Ukrainian cities of Bucha and Mariupol, which have become a symbol of the atrocities of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Russia is leaving behind death everywhere. It must be responsible for that. The world must really hold Russia responsible for this war. We will do everything for it,” Zelensky assured in his traditional midnight address to Ukrainians.
Associated Press journalists have seen the site with the graves outside the borders of Izyum. Among the trees were hundreds of graves with simple wooden crosses, most of them marked only with numbers. The largest grave had an inscription that the bodies of 17 Ukrainian soldiers were buried in it.
Ukrainian investigators are now scanning the area with metal detectors for possible hidden explosives.