Missing Persons Commissioner for Isjum: “I don’t want to call that Butscha”

Status: 09/16/2022 12:07 p.m

The Missing Persons Commissioner of Ukraine, Kotenko, speaks of many individual graves in the case of the bodies found in Izyum. The Ukrainian President Selenskyj had previously spoken of a mass grave and made a comparison to Bucha.

According to the Ukrainian Missing Persons Commissioner, the bodies found in the liberated small town of Izyum in eastern Ukraine are not a mass grave, but rather a large number of individual graves. “I don’t want to call it a boucha – here people were buried, let’s say, in a more civilized manner,” Oleh Kotenko told the Nastoyashchee Vremya TV channel.

The discovery of a cemetery with more than 440 graves became known on Thursday evening. According to the Internet broadcaster Hromadske, this included a larger grave in which up to 25 dead Ukrainian soldiers lie. Photos show crosses in a forest with numbers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a first reaction that the authorities had discovered a mass grave. “Bucha, Mariupol and now unfortunately also Izyum. Russia leaves death everywhere.” At the same time he announced further investigations.

The chief investigator of the Ukrainian police in the Kharkiv region, Sergey Bolvinov, spoke of more than 440 bodies in a pit on the British television channel Sky News.

Death presumably from artillery fire

The missing persons commissioner Kotenko now said that the people in Izyum probably died when Russian troops fired heavily on the city in the course of the conquest at the end of March. “The majority died under fire, we already understood that from the data: people died when they (the Russians) shelled the city with artillery.”

Vassili Golod, WDR, currently Kyiv, on the situation in Isjum

Tagesschau 12:00 p.m., 16.9.2022

Some of the funeral services did not know who the many dead people were. That’s why there are only numbers on some crosses. Authorities are currently trying to find a register of where the bodies were found.

The head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andriy Yermak, accused the Russian troops of murder. All bodies found in the grave would be exhumed and forensically examined, Yermak announced.

UN investigators want to travel to Izyum

The investigative team from the UN human rights office in Geneva wants to visit Isjum as soon as possible, a spokeswoman said. The find is shocking and the cause of death of each deceased must be investigated.

Isjum was conquered by Russian troops at the end of March. In the past week, they were expelled from there again under pressure from Ukrainian counter-offensives.

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