Ukraine war: Mass grave uncovered by Ukrainian forces as Russian troops driven out of Izyum

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday that a mass grave had been found in Izyum after the town was retaken from Russian forces.

“We want the world to know what the Russian occupation has caused,” he said, without giving details on the number of bodies found or their cause of death.

“We need to have more clear and verified information tomorrow.”

A regional police official, Sergei Botvinov, told Sky News that a burial site with around 440 graves had been discovered in Izyum.

Some of the dead were shot, others died in shelling, he added.

Zelensky compared Izyum to the cities of Bucha and Mariupol which have become symbols of atrocities during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Russia leaves death behind everywhere. And she must respond. The world must really hold Russia responsible for this war. We are going to do everything we can to do that,” he said.

Meanwhile, The White House has approved a new package of up to $600 million (A$896 million) in additional military aid for Ukraine, as Washington moves to support Kyiv’s counteroffensive against Russia’s invasion force.

The aid consists of equipment and services, as well as training, the executive branch said in a statement. It did not provide further details, including on the type of weapons provided.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the United States has provided more than $15 billion in military assistance to Kyiv.

This latest US announcement comes two weeks after the Ukrainian army began to wage a massive counteroffensive against Russian troops.

The UN nuclear agency’s board of governors on Thursday asked Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, two diplomats said.

The text, submitted by Canada and Poland, was approved by 26 of the 35 member states sitting on the Council.

China and Russia voted against, while seven countries — Burundi, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Senegal, South Africa and Vietnam — abstained.

“The (IAEA) Board of Governors has sent another strong message to Russia: cease immediately all actions threatening nuclear safety and security, and return the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and all other Ukrainian territory to control,” Australian ambassador Richard Sadleir tweeted.

Another diplomat confirmed the move.

The resolution supports the efforts of the IAEA which has been in talks with Russia and Ukraine over setting up a security zone around the nuclear plant.

Already in March, the IAEA passed a resolution warning about the “unprecedented danger of a nuclear accident” that would endanger not just the population of Ukraine but Europe as a whole.

The largest nuclear power plant in Europe has been a focal point of fighting in recent weeks, reviving fears of a nuclear incident.

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