Ukrainian authorities said they discovered mass graves in the liberated town of Izyum in the Kharkiv region.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense in a social media post on Thursday photos published from the scene, saying several mass burial sites had been discovered, the largest containing “440 unmarked graves”. A photo shows a large partially dug hole in a wooded area; another mound of earth surmounted by wooden crosses.
Kharkiv police chief of investigation Serhiy Bolvinov told Sky News on Thursday that the causes of death of those in the graves were being investigated. “We know that some were [shot dead], some died from artillery fire, so-called mine explosion trauma. Some died from the airstrikes,” Bolvinov said. “We have information that many bodies have not yet been identified. Thus, the reasons for death will be established during the investigations.
In his Thursday evening address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine would provide further information to journalists on Friday.
“We want the world to know what is really happening and what the Russian occupation has led to. Bucha, Mariupol, now, unfortunately, Izyum,” Zelenskyy said, referring to some of the towns Ukrainian forces have recaptured since the start of the Russian war in February, where evidence of war crimes has emerged.
“The world must hold Russia accountable for this war,” Zelenskyy said.
The president visited Izyum on Wednesday and raised the Ukrainian flag in the city’s main square, after a successful counter-offensive that saw Kyiv retake much of the northeastern region of Kharkiv.