447 killed

Mass burial site was found in the city of Izium after the Russian occupation

Photo by Serhii Nuzhnenko / (RFE/RL)

The city of Izium in the Kharkiv region was occupied since early April. Five months later it was liberated in Ukrainian counter-offensive: on September 10, Russian forces left Izium, and on September 14, the Ukrainian flag was officially raised over the city.

Soon after, many horrors of Russian occupation were revealed in the region, just as they were after the liberation of Bucha and other territories near Kyiv in April.

A mass burial site with more than 440 bodies was found in Izium.

As the exhumation started on September 16, the number of killed Ukrainians remained unclear. There was a grave with 17 buried people. “A lot of bodies have not been identified yet. So the reasons of death will be established during the investigations,” – said Serhiy Bolvinov, head of the Investigative Department of the National Police in the Kharkiv region.

On 23 September, the exhumation from a mass burial site was completed. 447 bodies were recovered from the graves. 215 women, 194 men, 11 bodies, the sex of which could not be determined yet, 5 children, and 22 military personnel among them.

99% of the exhumated ones have evidence of violent death. Some people were shot, and some died from artillery fire or airstrikes. Izium suffered from the largest number of missile attacks — over 500 missiles targeted the city and left it in ruins. At least 30 bodies have signs of torture.

Broken arms.
Tied hands.
A rope around the neck.
Amputated genitalia.
Killed families.
Killed children.

Most graves have a cross with no more than a single number. Photo: Hromadske

Both in Izium and Kupiansk in the Kharkiv region, horrifying torture chambers were found. Russian war criminals tortured even teenagers and foreign students there. Now saved thanks to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

After the liberation of over 388 settlements in the region, the world has to know the truth about Russia’s war crimes committed there during the occupation.

These atrocities are nothing but genocide. Russia should be held accountable for everything it committed as a terrorist state.

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