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September 23, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

Unidentified makeshift graves are seen at the Pishanske cemetery in Izium, on Friday.
Unidentified makeshift graves are seen at the Pishanske cemetery in Izium, on Friday. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

A total of 436 bodies have been exhumed from a mass burial site in Izium, according to Oleh Syniehubov, head of the Kharkiv region military administration, who said the work was completed Friday.

Most of the bodies showed signs of violent death, and 30 had traces of torture, Syiehubov said in a post on Telegram.

“There are bodies with a rope around the neck, with hands tied, with broken limbs and with gunshot wounds. Several men had their genitals amputated. All this is evidence of the terrible torture to which the occupiers subjected the residents of Izium. Most of the bodies are civilians, 21 are military,” the post said.

Syniehubov vowed to find out the circumstances of each of the deaths “so that their relatives and friends know the truth and the killers are punished.”

He thanked the 200 people — forensic experts, police officers, and employees of the State Emergency Service — who had been working at the site in the Kharkiv region, which had been recently recaptured from Russian forces.

Syniehubov added that there were at least three more mass burial sites in other liberated areas of the Kharkiv region.

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

Some background: Izium was subject to intense Russian artillery attacks in April. The city, which sits near the border between the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, became an important hub for the invading military during five months of occupation. Ukrainian forces took back control of the city on Sept. 10, delivering a strategic blow to Russia’s military assault in the east.

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