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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Ukraine Claims Mass Graves Identified in Izium Where Russians Ousted Days Ago

Thousands of Russian troops abandoned Izium last weekend after occupying the city and using it as a logistics hub in the Kharkiv region

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RUSSIA/UKRAINE: Ukrainian authorities discovered a mass grave containing 440 bodies in the northeastern town of Izium that was reclaimed from Russian forces days ago, officials said. The mass graves include some people who were supposedly killed by shelling and airstrikes.

Thousands of Russian troops abandoned Izium last weekend after occupying the city and using it as a logistics hub in the Kharkiv region. They left behind excessive military carnage- the streets were littered with ammunition and equipment hardware.

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Mass graves are being discovered in Izium after liberation from the (Russians)”, with the largest burial site holding 440 unmarked graves, the Ukrainian defence ministry tweeted.

Kharkiv region’s chief police investigator, Serhiy Bolvinov, said, “Some died because of artillery fire … some died because of air strikes.”

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Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, who visited Izium on Wednesday, compared the discovery to alleged war crimes or crimes against humanity by Russian forces against civilians in Bucha, on the outskirts of the capital city Kyiv, during the early stages of the war.

“Russia is leaving death behind it everywhere and must be held responsible,” Zelenskyy said in a video address late on Thursday.

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Russia has denied any wrongdoing and claims its airstrikes, drones or military ammo have never targeted civilians or committed war crimes.

Meanwhile, after weeks of rapid Ukrainian successes via counter-offensive measures against Russian forces, Ukrainian officials said the enemy had been fortifying its defences, and it would be hard to maintain the pace of the advance.

President Putin is yet to comment on the severity of losses suffered by his troops this month. Ukrainian officials say 9,000 sq km (3,400 sq miles) have been retaken, territory about the size of the island of Cyprus.

The speed of the advance and the successive gains have bolstered Ukrainian morale, and Zelensky’s forces wish to maintain this winning streak as it seeks more weapons to sustain its defence.

In Washington, U.S. President Joe Biden announced a new $600 million arms package to aid Ukraine in its war efforts, including High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and artillery rounds. 

Since the start of the conflict, which began as Putin’s “special military operation” against Ukraine on February 24, the United States has sent about $15.1 billion in security assistance to Kyiv.

On Thursday, Ukrainian officials said that Russian forces shelled Kharkiv city and other regional towns.

More than 90 missiles and artillery shells also targeted a region on the border with Russia, Dmytro Zhyvytsky, governor of Sumy region, said.

On the Russian side, Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, said the Ukrainian army shelled the town of Valuyki near the border.

“Anti-aircraft defences went into action, but there is some destruction on the ground,” he said on Telegram. This included a power substation put out of commission and private homes and vehicles set on fire. The reports aren’t confirmed yet.

Also Read: Ukraine President Zelenskyy Has ‘No Serious Injuries’ after a Car Accident

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