Unidentified graves of civilians and Ukrainian soldiers in a cemetery in the recently retaken area of Izium
Kyiv: Hundreds of graves were found in forests outside the recaptured Ukrainian city of Izium, reported news agency AFP. On Friday, Ukrainian officials announced the discovery of mass burial sites. These graves were reportedly topped with white crosses and marked with numbers.
According to the AFP report, these graves were dotted between trees outside the city. Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ office said that it wanted to send a team to the recently captured eastern city so that it could verify claims of Ukrainian officials regarding the discovery of a mass grave.
“Our colleagues in Ukraine are following up on these allegations, and they are aiming at organizing a monitoring visit to Izyum to determine the circumstances of the death of these individuals,” Elizabeth Throssell, spokesperson of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ office.
Also Read: Russia-Ukraine War: Mass grave found in recently recaptured town of Izium, says Volodymyr Zelensky.
Earlier in the day, Ukrainian officials claimed that they had counted 450 graves at one burial site near Izium. Notably, the town was seized by Ukraine last week during a counter-offensive launched to recapture annexed territories. As per a Ukrainian official, around 99 percent of bodies exhumed in Izium have signs of violent death.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russian forces of war crimes. He also blamed Russia for a “mass grave” in the region. Throssell termed these reports as “shocking”. She further added that the Human Rights team would be looking to find out whether the deceased were civilians or military personnel and their cause of demise.
Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine on February 24. Since the beginning of this month, Ukraine claimed to have recaptured over 8,000 square kilometers of territory from Russian troops.