Two children among bodies recovered at Izium mass grave, local governor says

A police officer pictured during the exhumations at Izium. Credit: AP

The governor of the Kharkiv region in Ukraine has claimed that the bodies of two children are among those recovered at a mass grave outside the village of Izium.

Forensic experts have exhumed the bodies of 146 people so far. They say that many appear to be civilians, and that some bare the signs of a "violent death".

It follows the EU calling for an investigation into alleged war crimes committed in the region. Jan Lipavský, the foreign minister of the Czech Republic - which holds the EU's rotating presidency - earlier this week called for "the speedy establishment of a special international tribunal that will prosecute the crime of aggression".

The area had been under occupation, but Russian troops withdrew after a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says his soldiers have recaptured up to 3,000 square miles of territory over the past few weeks, in a dramatic push which has left Russian forces in retreat.

Experts have spent days examining the wooded area, digging up bodies to establish their identities and the potential cause of death.

Hundreds of graves near Izium have been exhumed by forensic experts. Credit: AP

Local Governor Oleh Synehubov said: "There are bodies with tied hands and traces of torture."

"The deceased were also found to have explosive, shrapnel and stab wounds," he added.

The Prime Minister, Liz Truss, has pledged to spend at least £2.3 billion next year on military aid to help Ukraine fend off Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

While at the UN General Assembly in New York, she will also urge fellow European leaders to end their dependence on Russian oil and gas, which is funnelling billions of pounds into their economy.

Russia denies all allegations of war crimes, and has accused Ukraine and Western countries of fabricating evidence.