More Than 500 Bodies Discovered In Mass Grave

Kharkiv Mass Grave

Ukrainian police say more than 500 civilian bodies have been discovered in territory recently retaken from Russian forces.

There are also new burial sites being discovered in Donetsk as Ukrainian forces liberate more territory in the northeast. Several of them appear to contain the remains of civilians killed in shelling and rocket fire over several months.

“Just in the Kharkiv region alone, we found the bodies of 534 civilians from the de-occupied territories,” said Serhii Bolnivov, head of the regional police’s investigation department.

In early September, Ukrainian forces liberated the town of Izium from Russian occupation and found 447 bodies there. The Russians used Izium to launch attacks into Donetsk from the south.

In the region, more than twenty suspected Russian “torture chambers” have been discovered, according to Bolvinov.

“They tortured civilians and prisoners of war in almost all large cities and towns where military units of the Russian army were stationed,” he said, mentioning one in Pisky-Radkivski.

“Our 22nd torture chamber in the Kharkiv region de-occupied territory has been found and inspected,” Bolvinov stated.

According to him, electric shocks were the most common torture method, followed by severe beatings with sticks and other objects. In addition, nails were pulled out and gas masks were used to restrict breathing.

According to Bolvinov, rape allegations are also being investigated criminally.

“We understand that victims find it difficult to testify about such facts. There are, however, proceedings that we have filed, as well as appeals from women who have been raped. There are allegations of rapes in torture chambers that we have information about,” Bolvinov said.

Russian forces are suspected of serious human rights abuses north of Kyiv, which led to Ukrainian investigations in Kharkiv.

During the early months of the war, Russia was accused of a litany of war crimes. Russian forces indiscriminately shelled Bucha, a suburb of Kiev, after retreating from the city. Body parts were found shot, tied up, and left to rot, some showing signs of torture. There was a large number of dead civilians strewn along the streets of nearby Borodianka. According to reports, homes were looted.

The Russian government has consistently denied that its soldiers committed war crimes. The Kremlin claimed that Bucha’s atrocities were staged without providing any evidence. However, witnesses told journalists that the carnage began after the town was occupied.

Russia’s violent acts in Ukraine meet the definition of crimes against humanity, according to a report published in July by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

For more on this story, please consider these sources:

  1. Ukraine police say bodies of more than 500 civilians found in Kharkiv  CNN
  2. Russia-Ukraine updates: Mass grave found near recently liberated Lyman  DW (English)
  3. ‘Whole Families’ Among 180 Bodies Found in Mass Grave in Lyman: Ukraine  Newsweek
  4. 2 grave sites found in liberated Ukrainian city of Lyman, official says  CBS News
  5. Ukraine says mass burial sites found in retaken town of Lyman  BBC
John Nightbridge is a veteran reporter, researcher, and economic policy major from UCLA. Passionate about world issues and potential ways to solve them is a significant focus of his work. Writing freelance and reading the news are John's passions at work. Outside of work, it's all about sky diving, surfing, and stock market modeling.