Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said a mass grave has been discovered in the city of Izium in Ukraine’s northern Kahakiv region following Russia’s withdrawal from the area last week.
The finding hints at atrocities reportedly committed by Russian troops in other areas of Ukraine like Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, where reports of torture and civilian killings sparked international investigations into Russia’s actions.
“A mass burial site was found in Izium,” Zelenskyy said in his Thursday night address. “The necessary procedural actions have already begun there.”
Zelenskyy said he expected to obtain additional information on the mass grave site Friday and said Ukrainian and international journalists would be allowed into the recently secured city.
“We want the world to know what is really happening and what the Russian occupation has led to,” he continued. “Bucha, Mariupol, now, unfortunately, Izyum.
“Russia leaves death everywhere. And it must be held accountable for that,” he continued. “The world must hold Russia to real account for this war. We will do everything for this.”
The International Criminal Court, several allied nations and Kyiv have launched investigations into the thousands of alleged atrocities and human right abuses, including torture of civilians and Ukrainian troops, along with civilian killings.
When visiting Izium earlier this week for a flag ceremony, Zelenskyy warned that there were already signs that substantial human rights abuses had occurred in the city, which was occupied by Russian forces for six-months.
Ukraine has made significant military advances since it launched a major counteroffensive earlier this month, taking back the majority of Kharkiv from Russian forces.
Zelenksyy said that over the last week, more than 400 cities and towns have been liberated from Russian occupation.
The Ukrainian president has said his forces will not stop until all Russian troops have withdrawn from Ukraine – including Crimea, which Russia has occupied since 2014.