By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
KYIV/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Ukrainian authorities are starting to exhume mass graves found in a recaptured territory from Russia. Kyiv says hundreds of tombs were discovered outside Izyum, in the Kharkiv region, days after it was re-taken from Russia’s military.
Most wooden crosses, marked with numbers, were found in a forest outside the city by advancing Ukrainian forces. As they began exhuming some of the graves on Friday, it was unclear what happened to the victims. However, some officials suggest that at least several victims may have died from shelling and a lack of access to healthcare.
Ukraine’s national police service says most of the bodies belonged to civilians, and authorities believe more than 400 bodies are buried at the site. The United Nations hopes to send a monitoring team to the city to investigate possible war crimes.
The discovery underscored the mounting human suffering in Russia’s nearly seven-month-long invasion of Ukraine.
But the war isn’t going according to Russia’s plan, with Kyiv claiming it has recaptured 8,000 square kilometers or 3,100 square miles of territory in the east and south of the country.
Tens of thousands of Russian soldiers are believed to have died, and this month several Russian politicians dared to ask for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s resignation.
With the death toll mounting, Russia appears to increasingly rely on mercenaries and Chechen forces to take back territory from Ukraine or at least keep what they conquered.
Video has emerged of a Russian mercenary boss purportedly recruiting prisoners to join his controversial Wagner Group. The group’s leader Yevgeny Prigozhin told them that “the war is brutal and doesn’t look anything like the war in Chechnya.”
He also said those who do not want to send convicts to fight should send their children instead. In the leaked footage, he also told inmates they would be freed if they served six months with his group. However, he admitted that he could not ensure that everyone “would return alive.”
The Wagner Group is believed to have been fighting in Ukraine since 2014.
The video recording emerged as Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Chinese counterpart and discussed his increasingly challenging invasion of Ukraine.
Their meeting followed concerns in China over the economic impact of the war and the major setbacks of Putin on the battlefield in Ukraine and closer to home, where he reportedly faces death threats and even pressure from Russian politicians to resign.
However, Putin tried to play down those concerns by thanking the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, for his “balanced” approach to the Ukraine crisis while condemning Washington’s “ugly” policies.
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