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Ukraine finds two more mass graves containing hundreds of bodies and probe third 'burial site'

Ukraine is investigating a third suspected mass burial site at an abandoned, shell-damaged industrial chicken farm in Kozacha Lopan, a mile from the Russian border.  Pictured: Sandbags and the letter Z, the symbol of Russian forces, are seen on a wall of an industrial chicken farm, near which Russian forces dug near a suspected mass grave in Kozacha Lopan, Kharkiv region

Ukraine has discovered two more mass graves containing the bodies of hundreds of people in the northeastern town of Izyum, which Kyiv recaptured from Russia this month.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the mass burial sites were discovered in Izyum, Kharkiv region, days after the area was liberated by Ukrainian troops after spending four months under Russian occupation.

Ukraine is also investigating a third suspected mass burial site located at a damaged and abandoned industrial chicken farm in Kozacha Lopan, a mile from the Russian border.

It’s unclear how many bodies lie there – Ukrainian troops and officials say 90-100 without saying how they know – but signs of the recent violence are in the rubble all around the chicken farm .

Reports of the grim finds come after Ukrainian authorities uncovered a large burial site further south containing the bodies of 447 people next to a cemetery in a wooded area in Izyum.

A total of 425 civilians were buried in the mass graves, including five children, and 22 Ukrainian servicemen.

Ukraine is investigating a third suspected mass burial site at an abandoned, shell-damaged industrial chicken farm in Kozacha Lopan, a mile from the Russian border.  Pictured: Sandbags and the letter Z, the symbol of Russian forces, are seen on a wall of an industrial chicken farm, near which Russian forces dug near a suspected mass grave in Kozacha Lopan, Kharkiv region

Ukraine is investigating a third suspected mass burial site at an abandoned, shell-damaged industrial chicken farm in Kozacha Lopan, a mile from the Russian border. Pictured: Sandbags and the letter Z, the symbol of Russian forces, are seen on a wall of an industrial chicken farm, near which Russian forces dug near a suspected mass grave in Kozacha Lopan, Kharkiv region

A damaged building is seen at an industrial chicken farm, near which Russian forces dug up, near a suspected mass grave in Kozacha Lopan, Kharkiv region, Ukraine

A damaged building is seen at an industrial chicken farm, near which Russian forces dug up, near a suspected mass grave in Kozacha Lopan, Kharkiv region, Ukraine

Pictured: Debris in a bunker of an industrial chicken farm, near which Russian forces dug, near a suspected mass grave in Kozacha Lopan

Pictured: Debris in a bunker of an industrial chicken farm, near which Russian forces dug, near a suspected mass grave in Kozacha Lopan

Ukraine has discovered two more mass graves containing the bodies of hundreds of people in the northeastern town of Izyum, which Kyiv recaptured from Russia this month.  Ukraine is also investigating a third suspected mass burial site at a damaged and abandoned industrial chicken farm in Kozacha Lopan, a mile from the Russian border.

Ukraine has discovered two more mass graves containing the bodies of hundreds of people in the northeastern town of Izyum, which Kyiv recaptured from Russia this month. Ukraine is also investigating a third suspected mass burial site at a damaged and abandoned industrial chicken farm in Kozacha Lopan, a mile from the Russian border.

Zelensky said two more mass burial sites have been discovered in Izyum.

“Today I received more information… They found two more mass graves, large graves with hundreds of people… We’re talking about (the) small town of Izium,” Zelensky told CBS News. Sunday, while calling for new sanctions against Russia.

“The sanctions must continue. These sanctions will have a political impact, as well as a financial impact.

Further north, a potential mass grave was discovered at Kozacha Lopan. Sweepers have not yet arrived at the site and the alleged burial site has not yet been disturbed.

“The soldiers who came to our village told me that they had seen a burial place of soldiers, but they did not specify the number,” said Lyudmyla Vakulenko, head of the local administration of Kozacha Lopan. .

“They said a specialist unit would look into the matter,” she added.

Forensic teams are expected later this week once the area is deemed safe for work. On Monday, soldiers moved cautiously, avoiding unpaved areas, being wary of mines and unexploded shells.

Reports of the grim finds come after Ukrainian authorities uncovered a large burial site further south containing the bodies of 447 people next to a cemetery in a wooded area in Izyum

Reports of the grim finds come after Ukrainian authorities uncovered a large burial site further south containing the bodies of 447 people next to a cemetery in a wooded area in Izyum

On September 23, people carry the bodies away from a mass burial site in the town of Izyum, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, after the bodies of 447 people were found.

On September 23, people carry the bodies away from a mass burial site in the town of Izyum, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, after the bodies of 447 people were found.

But reports of potential mass burials will confirm Ukrainians’ worst fears, still shocked by the discovery of a makeshift forest cemetery containing 447 bodies in Izyum.

Kharkiv regional governor Oleg Synegubov said most of the bodies in Izyum showed signs of violent death and that 30 of the victims appeared to have been previously tortured.

Meanwhile, it is not yet known which bodies lie in the chicken factory. Soldiers guarding the compound told AFP they expected to find the bodies of Russian and Ukrainian soldiers and local civilians.

But Vakulenko says the officer who told him about the find said the army believes it is a grave for the soldiers and that they received another clue as to the soldiers’ potential identities.

On April 22, she said, a Ukrainian force from the 72nd Mechanized Brigade counterattacked Russian forces dug in near the chicken factory, but were repulsed with heavy casualties.

The area was finally liberated by Ukrainian forces this month, and over the weekend Vakulenko – who heads the civil administration in the border area north of the city of Kharkiv – received a call.

“Yes, there was a phone call on the community hotline from a woman named Olena. I don’t know if it’s a relative or a friend, just ‘Olena’,” Vakulenko told AFP.

“She left her phone number saying that some of her relatives or friends were killed on April 22 near the village of Kozacha Lopan.

‘She asked, ‘Can I get official information?’ And we said, ‘So far, no. Until the exhumation is done. Until this unit does its job and tells us what happened.”

Whoever is buried under the Chicken Factory, it seems clear who was there when the burials took place. The sheds and outbuildings are filled with signs of the Russian occupation.

A Ukrainian soldier enters a destroyed building at an industrial chicken farm, near which Russian forces dug, near a suspected mass grave in Kozacha Lopan, Kharkiv region, Ukraine

A Ukrainian soldier enters a destroyed building at an industrial chicken farm, near which Russian forces dug, near a suspected mass grave in Kozacha Lopan, Kharkiv region, Ukraine

A picture taken on September 26, 2022 shows debris and graffiti at an industrial chicken farm in Kozacha Lopan

A picture taken on September 26, 2022 shows debris and graffiti at an industrial chicken farm in Kozacha Lopan

Pictured: A damaged car bearing the letter Z, the symbol of Russian forces, on a possible minefield next to an abandoned industrial chicken farm in Kozacga Lopan, Ukraine

Pictured: A damaged car bearing the letter Z, the symbol of Russian forces, on a possible minefield next to an abandoned industrial chicken farm in Kozacga Lopan, Ukraine

Deep trenches were dug under the floors of some of the sheds, each the size of the tank that would have been squatting there under cover of the cavernous metal-roofed chicken coops.

A Russian tank crewman’s leather helmet hung on a fence post and a Russian military jacket lay in the mud.

Ukrainian forces said the unit based there was recruited from Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia under Russian occupation.

In the farm’s mechanical workshop, a bunker has been dug under the concrete floor, and the former residents have built a makeshift gym with a concrete barbell and a punching bag made from car tires.

A shell hole pierced a corner of the roof, letting a ray of sunlight enter the darkness.

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