Ukraine searches for its dead at burial site outside Izyum

A photo shows crosses at a burial site in a forest on the outskirts of Izyum, on Sept. 17, 2022.
JUAN BARRETO/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Dressed in white protective suits and wearing rubber gloves, Ukrainian emergency workers on Saturday dug up more bodies from a wooded burial site in territory recently recaptured from Russian forces, while townspeople looked for dead relatives.

Ukraine says hundreds are buried at the site discovered this week, including at least 17 Ukrainian servicemen found in a mass grave on Friday and others who may be civilians buried in individual graves marked with flimsy wooden crosses.

The causes of death have not yet been established, although residents say some of the graves near the town of Izyum were of people who died in an airstrike. Ukrainian authorities have said at least one of the bodies had tied hands and rope marks on the neck.

Moscow has not commented on the discovery of the graves. It regularly denies committing atrocities in the war or targeting civilians.

Reuters saw workers carefully exhume at least five graves with shovels, while police experts and investigators documented the findings on camera and inspected the bodies on the sandy soil between trunks of pine trees.

Investigators said the condition of the teeth showed some of the people were elderly.

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