Ukrainian officials point to war crime evidence following reports of mass burials sites in Izium

The horrors of life under occupation are becoming more and more clear as Ukraine retakes lands seized by Russia - Robert Moore reports

Mass graves containing civilians and Ukrainian soldiers have been found in the northeastern city of Izium after it was recaptured from Russian control, according to Ukrainian authorities.

Found after videos posted online by Russian forces, it's been reported up to 400 graves are visible amid Izium's forest, mostly numbered and marked with simple wooden crosses.

Should the numbers be verified it would signal the biggest mass grave discovered in Europe since the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

On Wednesday, Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a rare trip outside the capital city Kiev to watch the national flag being raised over recently recaptured Izium.

Nearly seven months into the war, Zelenskyy said on Thursday: "We want the world to know what is really happening and what the Russian occupation has led to.

“Bucha, Mariupol, now, unfortunately, Izium. Russia leaves death everywhere. And it must be held accountable for it."

Ukrainian paratroopers drive across the Siverskiy-Donets river in Izium Credit: AP

Other evidence has been found of war crimes including torture chambers and "traces of violent death" after the exhumation of bodies, according to Ukrainian Deputy Interior Minister Yevhen Enin.

Local resident Sergei Gorodko said among those buried were dozens of adults and children killed in a Russian airstrike on an apartment building.

While Ukrainian forces claim to have made progress in regaining land in the Kharkiv region, it comes at the cost of discovering destruction left in Russia's wake.

In claims yet to be independently verified, president Zelenskyy said its forces had retaken roughly 2,400 square miles of territory from Russian control in September.

Recapturing dozens of towns in Ukraine's east and south such as Izium as part of the lightning advance, Zelenskyy also asked for more help with weapon deliveries from the West.

Ukraine Ministry official Oleg Kotenko said: "We will work on it. And I think we will find everyone who died here."

Ukrainian ministry official Oleg Kotenko films the unidentified graves of civilians and soldiers in the northeastern city of Izium Credit: AP

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