Ukrainian Official: We've Found Torture Chambers

'Russia leaves death everywhere,' Zelensky says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2022 5:41 AM CDT
Ukraine Says Mass Burial Site Found Near Liberated City
A Ukrainian serviceman uses a metal detector to inspect a mass grave in the recently retaken area of Izium, Ukraine, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022 .   (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

"Russia leaves death everywhere. And it must be held accountable for it," Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky said after hundreds of graves were reportedly found in a mass burial site in a forest near the recently liberated city of Izium. Regional police chief Volodymyr Tymoshko told the BBC that more than 400 people are buried at the site, which was found by advancing Ukrainian troops. Individual graves there are marked with numbers and wooden crosses. A marker for a mass grave says it holds the bodies of 17 Ukrainian soldiers, but authorities believe it could hold 25 or 30 bodies.

Zelensky said in his nightly address Thursday that investigators will have more information about the site Friday. "The necessary procedural actions have already begun there,” he said. "We want the world to know what is really happening and what the Russian occupation has led to." Investigators are using metal detectors to scan the site for hidden explosives, the Guardian reports. Izium residents say dozens of people buried at the site were killed when Russia shelled an apartment building. Investigators say others were shot.

Ukrainian Deputy Interior Minister Yevhen Enin said late Thursday that evidence of war crimes found after Ukrainian forces advanced in the region includes multiple torture chambers, the AP reports. Enin said Ukrainian citizens and foreigners were detained "in completely inhuman conditions" at the sites. "We have already come across the exhumation of individual bodies, not only with traces of a violent death, but also of torture—cut off ears, etc.," Enin told Ukraine's NV Radio. "This is just the beginning." The United Nations says it plans to send human rights monitors to the area. (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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