Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has posted a photograph of the ongoing exhumation of bodies at a mass burial site near the city of Izium.
In a text accompanying the photograph on his Telegram channel, Zelensky wrote: "The whole world should see this. A world in which there should be no cruelty and terrorism. But all this is there. And its name is Russia."
"More than 400 bodies were found at the mass burial site in Izium. With signs of torture, children, those killed as a result of missile attacks, warriors of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," Zelensky said.
"Russia leaves only death and suffering," he continued, before pledging: "You won’t run away. You won’t hide. Retribution will be justly dreadful."
As the exhumation continues, it's unclear how each victim died and when. Scores of civilians and soldiers were killed in the weeks-long bombardment of Izium by Russian forces in March and April. A CNN team at the site said that the graves they saw were predominantly of individuals, some marked only with numbers and others with full names and other details.
The governor of the Kharkiv region, Oleh Syniehubov, said that "the scale of the crimes committed by the invaders in Izium is enormous. This is bloody brutal terror."
"450 bodies of civilians with traces of violent death and torture were buried in a forest belt. It is difficult to imagine something like this in the 21st century, but now it is a tragic reality in Izium," he said.
Syniehubov asserted that "among the bodies exhumed today, 99% show signs of violent death. There are several bodies with their hands tied behind their backs, and one person is buried with a rope around his neck. Obviously, these people were tortured and executed. There are also children among the buried."
"About 200 law enforcement officers and experts are currently on the scene. The bodies will be sent for a forensic examination to determine the exact cause of death. After identifying the faces of the dead, they will all be buried with due respect," he said.
"Each death will be investigated and become evidence of Russia's war crimes in international courts," Syniehubov said.