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Ukrainian governor says bodies exhumed from mass grave show signs of torture

Ukrainian soldiers fire in the recently retaken Kupiansk in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. Russian and Ukrainian forces exchanged missile and artillery barrages on Thursday as both sides refused to concede ground despite recent military setbacks for Moscow and the toll on the invaded country after seven months of war. (AP Photo/Kostiantyn Liberov)

Oleh Synyehubov, governor of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, announced on Friday that some of the bodies exhumed from a mass grave in Izyum, part of the Kharkiv region, showed signs of torture.

“There are bodies with ropes around their necks, with their hands tied, with broken limbs and gunshot wounds. Several men have amputated genitalia,” wrote Synyehubov on Telegram.

The 30 bodies found to “have traces of torture” include those of military members and civilians.

Many of the remainder of the 436 bodies buried in the mass grave showed “signs of violent death,” according to officials.

The United Nations released a report the same day confirming evidence of torture in Izyum, in addition to sexual violence and “cruel and inhuman treatment.”

The UN’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry into Ukraine found that the Russian army forced family members to watch as they committed crimes against their fellow Ukrainians.

Synyehubov claimed that there are other burial sites around the Kharkiv region, including three more that officials have discovered since the territory has been liberated from Russian troops.

Izyum was recaptured by the Ukrainian military earlier this month as its troops launched a successful counteroffensive that pushed the Russians out of multiple key cities.

“Each of the bodies found is a separate story,” Synyehubov said.

“And we will find out the circumstances of each person’s death, so that their relatives and friends will learn the truth, and the murderers will be punished.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky commented on the “torture chamber” in Izyum in an address last week.

“Russia has repeated in Izyum what it did in Bucha,” Zelensky said, referring to the mass burial sites found in the latter city after Russian withdrawal earlier this year.

“And now we have just begun to learn the full truth about what was happening in Kharkiv region at that time.”

Tags Izyum Kharkiv mass graves russia Russia-Ukraine war Russian war in Ukraine torture ukraine Ukraine United Nations Volodymyr Zelensky Volodymyr Zelensky

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