Ukrainian authorities say they have discovered hundreds of graves outside the recaptured city of Izyum – Copyright POOL/AFP/File Brendan Smialowski
On Friday, Ukraine said it had counted about 450 graves in the Izyum region after it recaptured the strategic eastern city from the Russians. Kyiv compared this discovery to the atrocities seen in Bucha and Mariupol.
After recovering sections of the territory in a lightning-fast counter-offensive in the east, Ukrainian authorities also said they found at least 10 “torture centers” around the Kharkiv region. Police chief Igor Klimenko said two of them were found in the northeast of Balakliya.
Ukrainian officials said they counted about 450 graves at one site near Izyum.
“This is just one of the mass graves discovered near Izyum. For months, rampant terror, violence, torture and massacres have reigned in the occupied territories, ”said Mykhailo Podolyak, senior presidential aide.
The United Nations in Geneva said it wanted to send a team to investigate the circumstances of the death.
In the Izyum area, AFP journalists saw graves topped with crosses and marked with numbers, one of which read: “Ukrainian army, 17 people. Izyum morgue.
Regional police officer Sergei Botvinov told Sky News that the Izyum burial contains the bodies of people killed in skirmishes or shelling.
Russia has been accused of carrying out attacks against civilians that amount to possible war crimes, especially in cities outside Kyiv.
Dozens of civilians with traces of extrajudicial killings have been found in places like Bucha near Kyiv after they were recaptured by Ukrainian forces earlier this year.
– German military reconstruction –
The grim revelations coincided with new developments on the international front, including the White House’s announcement of a new military aid package for Ukraine worth up to $600 million.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the United States has provided more than $15 billion in military support to Kyiv, including long-range precision-guided missile systems.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has warned that Europe must take on a much larger burden for NATO as he called President Vladimir Putin’s Russia the “biggest threat” it currently poses to the alliance.
“NATO remains responsible for the collective defense of the entire alliance, with a focus on Europe. A credible deterrent remains a key element,” Scholz said at an army congress.
Germany is ready to take the lead in Europe’s security, Scholz said, promising to make the country’s armed forces the “best equipped” on the continent.
Haunted by two world wars, Germany has always trod lightly and calmly on the world stage when it came to conflicts and armaments.
– “New centers of power” –
The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, visited Kyiv on Thursday to discuss with the leaders of Ukraine the issues of “bringing our economies and people closer together.”
“European friends will be by your side for as long as it takes,” von der Leyen said at a press conference with Zelensky.
Kyiv gained European Union candidate status in June, angering Moscow, which has struggled to maintain political and military influence since the collapse of the Soviet Union three decades ago.
Many EU members have joined the US in supplying Kyiv with advanced weapons, allowing its forces to push the Russians out of thousands of square kilometers (miles) of territory this month.
EU countries also brought down economic sanctions on Russia.
On Friday, Berlin took control of Russian oil company Rosneft’s operations in Germany to secure energy supplies disrupted by the invasion.
The German subsidiaries of Rosneft, which account for about 12% of the country’s oil refining capacity, have been transferred to the jurisdiction of the Federal Network Agency, the Economy Ministry said.
The confiscations come as Germany tries to shed its dependence on Russian fossil fuels. Moscow has stopped deliveries of natural gas to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.
Meanwhile, Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have called for a shake-up of the world order by meeting Asian leaders at a summit challenging Western influence.
Putin hailed what he called the growing influence of “new centers of power” at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting in former Soviet Uzbekistan.