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Mass grave containing approximately 440 bodies found in Izyum
The news network Current Time has published photos of a mass grave in Izyum, a city in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region that was recently liberated by the Ukrainian army.
The outlet reported that the photos were taken by Ukrainian journalists. The images show an area in a forest that’s full of crosses, many of which have been knocked over. Some of the crosses have last names or numbers written on them. One contains the words “UAF [Ukrainian Armed Forces], 17 people, Izyum, from the morgue.” Some of the graves have no crosses.
Oleh Kotenko, Ukraine’s Commissioner for Issues of Missing Persons under Special Circumstances, confirmed the photos’ authenticity. The site they show, Kotenko said, contains hundreds of graves, though it’s not clear who is buried there, when they were buried, or what the circumstances were. According to the death dates on the crosses, he said, at least some of the civilians died while Izyum was being shelled by Russian forces.
“We’re talking about hundreds [of graves]. But we still need to find out how the people died. I think they died violent deaths and I think it was from shelling. I don’t want to call it another Bucha. These people were buried in a more civilized way, so to speak. I saw some graves of a considerable size, too. I don’t even want to think about this, but I think there are children who died, too,” said Kotenko.
Serhii Bolvinov, the chief investigator of the Kharkiv regional police, told the British news outlet Sky News on Thursday that the site contained approximately 440 bodies. He said that some of the people were killed intentionally while others were killed by artillery fire and airstrikes. According to Bolvinov, all of the bodies are being exhumed as part of an investigation into Russian war crimes.
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