(Reuters) -Ukrainian authorities have found a mass grave of more than 440 bodies in the eastern city of Izium that was recaptured from Russian forces, a regional police official said on Thursday, adding some of the people had been killed by shelling and air strikes.
Serhiy Bolvinov, the chief police investigator for Kharkiv region, told Sky News that forensic investigations would be carried out on every body.
“I can say it is one of the largest burial sites in a big town in liberated (areas)… 440 bodies were buried in one place,” Bolvinov said.
“Some died because of artillery fire … some died because of air strikes,” he said. Thousands of Russian troops fled Izium at the weekend.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy put the blame on Russia and likened the discovery to what happened in Bucha, on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv in the early stages of the late February invasion by Russian forces. Ukraine and its Western allies have accused the Russian forces of perpetrating war crimes there.
“Russia is leaving death behind it everywhere and must be held responsible,” Zelenskiy said in a video address.
Russia has repeatedly denied it targets civilians or has committed war crimes.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren and Ronald PopeskiEditing by Grant McCool)