Torture centres, mass graves and more: Ukraine slams Moscow over findings in area recaptured from Russian troops
As Ukraine reclaims territory taken by Russia earlier this year, mass graves and 'torture rooms' have come to light. About 450 graves were counted at one burial site near the eastern Ukraine city of Izyum and authorities said that they had discovered at least 10 locations in recaptured territory that had been used for torture. Russia has been accused of carrying out attacks on civilians that amount to possible war crimes - particularly in towns outside the capital of Kyiv.
"Four hundred and fifty graves... This is just one of the mass burial sites discovered near Izyum. In the occupied territories, rampant terror, violence, torture and mass murders have been reigning for months," said senior presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak.
"I can talk about the presence of at least 10 torture centres in settlements in the Kharkiv region...two torture centres were found in Balakliya (a town in the northeast)," added Ukraine police chief Igor Klymenko during a briefing.
The recapture of Iyzum and swathes of territory in the eastern Kharkiv region has also delivered a serious blow to Russia's ambitions to capture and hold the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine.
According to accounts given by AFP journalists hundreds of graves topped with white crosses and marked with numbers are located in forests outside the recaptured city of Izyum. During his daily address President Volodymyr Zelensky also invoked the names of other Ukrainian cities where authorities said retreating Russian troops left behind mass graves of civilians and evidence of possible war crimes.
"Our colleagues in Ukraine are following up on these allegations, and they are aiming at organising a monitoring visit to Izyum to determine the circumstances of the death of these individuals," said a spokesperson from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' office on Friday.