Grave with ‘440 bodies’ found in city freed from Russian control

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A MASS grave containing at least 440 bodies has been found in a city liberated by Ukrainian forces, according to a police chief.

The horrific discovery was made in Izyum, in the Kharviv region, after it was freed from Russian control as Ukraine pushes forward with its rapid counter-offensive.

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A Ukrainian soldier stands on top of a tank on the outskirts of IzyumCredit: AFP

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Izyum has been freed from Russian control after months of occupation by Putin’s forcesCredit: AFP

Chief Police Investigator Serhii Bolvinov said all the bodies would be dug up and taken for forensic examination to gather evidence of suspected Russian war crimes.

He said the bodies had been individually buried at the makeshift site.

Mr Bolvinov said some victims had been shot dead, while others were killed by Russian artillery fire and airstrikes.

He described the grim discovery as a “crime against humanity”.

The top police officer told Sky News: “I can say that there is one of the biggest burials in one liberated city, which contains more than 440 graves.

“Some 440 bodies were buried in one place.

“We know that some were killed [shot dead], some died because of artillery fire, so-called mine explosion traumas. Some died because of airstrikes.

“Also we have information that a lot of bodies have not been not identified yet. So the reasons of death will be established during the investigations.”

He added: “For me, it was especially shocking and horrific and this is a crime against humanity. It shouldn’t be like this in a civilised world in 2022.

“This is such a horrendous story and unpleasant from any angle. I am confident that the evil will definitely be punished.”

Mr Bolvinov said his officers are also aware of a number of other mass graves in the area.

Back in April, Ukraine began the grim task of digging up a mass grave in Bucha where at least 400 victims of Russian atrocities were buried.

It comes as Putin faces humiliation in Ukraine as he suffers major losses amid the Ukrainian counterattack.

President Zelensky vowed to keep storming forward as his troops reached the edge of Russian-held Donbas in a stunning counter-attack.

The lionhearted leader swooped into the town of Izium – a former Russian stronghold – days after Putin’s troops fled in their worst defeat since the retreat from Kyiv.

He said: “We are moving in only one direction – forward and towards victory.”

Ukraine’s military appears to have made stunning gains on its eastern and southern fronts, amid the reported collapse of the Russian military resolve.

Ukraine said it had liberated some 6,000 square kilometres – an area the size of Devon – with last week’s lightning assault that caught Russian troops by surprise.

British and US long-range weapons – including HIMARS and GMLRS rocket launchers – were key to the mission’s success, Ukraine said.

It comes amid reports Putin’s troops have begun abandoning another major city in the face of the lightning Ukrainian counter-strike.

Russian forces are said to be pulling out from Melitopol in Ukraine’s southern Zaporizhzhia region and heading toward Moscow-annexed Crimea in a humiliating blow for Kremlin.

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Ukrainian soldiers hold up a flag in Izyum after it was liberatedCredit: Twitter

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Volodymyr Zelensky taking part in the state’s flag raising in Izyum, Kharkiv regionCredit: AFP

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