Izium mass burial: Signs of torture, mutilation of corpses

In a grim reminder of the human cost of Russia’s invasion, most of the bodies showed signs of a violent death, said Oleh Syniehubov, head of the Kharkiv regional military administration.

“There are bodies with a rope around their necks, hands tied, limbs broken and with gunshot wounds. Several men had their genitals cut off,” Syniehubov said in a Telegram message on Friday.

“All this is proof of the terrible torture that the occupiers have subjected to the residents of Izium.”

Syniehubov added that most of the bodies were civilians and only 21 were military.

Izium, which is near the border between Ukraine’s Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, came under heavy Russian artillery fire before being occupied in April. It then became an important site for the invading military during the five months of occupation.

Ukrainian forces regained control of the city this month, dealing a strategic blow to Russia’s military offensive.
Russian forces were forced to flee the strategic eastern city after Ukrainian forces launched a new offensive eastward across the Kharkiv region.

While the offensive in Ukraine successfully reclaimed thousands of square kilometers of territory, it also uncovered evidence of the horrors suffered by civilians and soldiers at the hands of Russian troops.

Syniehubov said this was not the only burial found. He said there are at least three more in other liberated areas of the Kharkiv region.

He added that each recovered body has a different story, and he vowed to find out the circumstances of each of their deaths, “so that their relatives and friends can know the truth and the murderers can be punished.”

“All the crimes of the occupiers will be documented, and the perpetrators will pay for what they did,” said Syniehubov.

He thanked the 200 people who worked there every day – including forensic experts, police and State Emergency Service personnel – for “morally difficult but necessary work”.