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Ukraine’s Zelenskiy says two more burial sites found in liberated Izium

mass burial site discovered in izium
File photo: Bags with exhumed bodies of people in the town of Izium, recently liberated by Ukrainian Armed Forces, in Kharkiv region, Ukraine September 23, 2022. The inscription on the bags reads: "Unknown person". REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi

Ukraine has discovered two more mass burial sites containing the bodies of hundreds of people in the northeastern town of Izium, which Kyiv recaptured from Russia this month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.

Zelenskiy made his comment in an interview with CBS published late on Sunday in which he also called for sustained sanctions pressure on Russia, whose troops were routed in northeastern Ukraine in a lightning counteroffensive this month.

Russian authorities did not immediately comment on Zelenskiy’s assertion about the discovery of two more burial sites. Moscow regularly denies committing atrocities in the war in Ukraine or targeting civilians.

“Today I received more information… They found two more mass graves, big graves with hundreds of people… We’re talking about (the) little town of Izium,” Zelenskiy said.

“The sanctions need to continue. These sanctions will have political impact, as well as financial impact.”

After the months-long Russian occupation, Ukrainian authorities uncovered a large burial site next to a cemetery in a wooded area in Izium earlier this month, and launched an investigation into the circumstances of the deaths.

Last week, they finished exhuming the bodies of 436 people. The majority of them appeared to have died violent deaths and there were preliminary indications that 30 of them had been tortured, the regional governor said.

Seventeen soldiers were also exhumed from a mass grave at the site.

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