“Russia Leaves Death Everywhere,” Zelenskyy Said, as New Mass Graves Were Found

mass grave in Izium
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Ukrainian police have reportedly discovered a mass grave in Izium, a city in the country’s northeast that was recently overrun by Russian troops and recaptured by Ukraine in a lightning-fast counteroffensive.

In a late-Thursday-night video address, President Zelenskyy said, “The appropriate processes have already started there, and further information — clear, verified information — should be accessible tomorrow.”

Journalists from the Associated Press witnessed the site Thursday in a forest near Izium. Among the trees were hundreds of graves with simple wooden crosses, the majority of which were marked only with numbers. A larger grave bore a marker indicating that it contained the bodies of 17 Ukrainian soldiers.

Using metal detectors, investigators searched the location for any concealed bombs.

Oleg Kotenko, an official with the Ukrainian ministry responsible for reintegrating seized territory, said that footage shared by Russian military on social media suggested that the grave included more than 17 victims.

He said, “We have not counted them yet, but I believe there are more than 25 or even 30.”

Sergei Gorodko, a native of Izium, said that among the hundreds of individuals buried in separate graves were dozens of adults and children killed by a Russian airstrike on an apartment complex.

He said that he personally dug several of them out of the wreckage.

Zelenskyy recalled the names of several Ukrainian towns where, according to the authorities, retreating Russian forces allegedly left behind mass graves of victims and evidence of suspected war crimes.

“Bucha, Mariupol, and now, sadly, Izium…. Russia leaves dead everywhere, and it must be held responsible. The international community must hold Russia accountable for this conflict,” he said in his presentation.

Sergei Bolvinov, a senior investigator for Ukrainian police in the eastern Kharkiv region, told Sky News that a mass grave containing more than 440 bodies was discovered near Izium after Kyiv’s forces liberated the city. Bolvinov referred to the grave as “one of the largest burial grounds in any liberated city.”

Many of the dead have not yet been recognised, according to Bolvinov, who said that some were killed by gunfire, while others perished from artillery fire, mines, or airstrikes.

Last week, Russian soldiers withdrew from Izium and other areas of the Kharkiv region in response to a remarkable Ukrainian counteroffensive. On Wednesday, Zelenskyy made a rare journey outside the capital to see the raising of the national flag above Izium’s municipal hall.

Deputy Interior Minister Yevhen Enin said on Thursday evening that further evidence discovered following Kiev’s sweeping march into the Kharkiv area included several “torture rooms” where Ukrainians and foreigners were jailed “under utterly horrific circumstances.”

In an interview with Ukraine’s Radio NV, Enin said, “We have already seen the exhumation of individual victims with not just signs of a violent death, but also of torture – severed ears, etc. This is only the beginning.”

Among those imprisoned at one of the locations, he alleged, were students from an unnamed Asian nation who were apprehended at a Russian checkpoint while attempting to enter Ukrainian-controlled territory.

Enin did not identify where the students were detained, but he did say that torture chambers were discovered in the tiny towns of Balakliya and Volchansk. His allegation could not be independently corroborated.

“All these traces of war crimes have been meticulously documented by us, and we know from the Bucha experience that the worst crimes can only be exposed with time,” Enin said, referring to a Kyiv suburb where the bodies of hundreds of civilians were discovered following the Russian army’s March withdrawal.

Earlier on Thursday, Zelenskyy said that during Russia’s five-month occupation of the area, they “only wrecked, only deprived, and only took away.”

The occupants transformed schools into rubbish dumps and churches into toilets.

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