Ukrainian authorities found a mass grave containing 440 bodies in the northeastern city of Izium. Ukrainian officials said the city was recaptured from Russian forces a few days ago. At that time some people were killed in shelling and airstrikes. Reuters news.

Thousands of Russian troops fled Izium last weekend after capturing the city and using it as a logistics hub in the Kharkiv region. They left behind a large amount of ammunition and equipment.

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine wrote on Twitter, ‘Mass graves are being discovered in Izium after liberation from the Russians. The largest cemetery contains 440 unmarked graves.

Kharkiv region chief police investigator Serhii Balvinov told Sky News: ‘Some died from artillery fire… some died from airstrikes.’

Reuters could not immediately verify the Ukrainian report and Russia was not immediately available for comment.

Journalists who visited the site described seeing hundreds of graves marked with simple wooden crosses among the trees. A mass grave contains the bodies of 17 Ukrainian soldiers, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Investigators were using metal detectors to look for hidden explosives.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Izium on Wednesday. He likened the city to alleged war crimes committed by Russian forces against civilians in Bucha on the outskirts of the capital, Kiev, in the early stages of the war.

“Russia is leaving a trail of death everywhere and must take responsibility,” Zelensky said in a video message on Thursday.

However, Russia has denied targeting civilians or committing war crimes.

(September 16)