January 27, 2023

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Bodies with hands tied and rope around necks discovered near Izium, freed from Russian occupation

Ukrainians are reliving the shock of the atrocities caused by the Russians, in the areas they temporarily occupied. More than 400 graves were discovered in the town of Izium after it was liberated from Russian occupation.

“It goes without saying to me that Vladimir Putin must lose this war and face the consequences of his actions. I think it is possible to bring him before the International Criminal Court one day”, said the head of the European Commission, in an interview given to the German media.

Hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers, but also many civilians, still unidentified, were found buried in a forest in Izium, a city freed from Russian occupation last week.

President Zelensky compared Izium to the martyr cities of Bucha and Mariupol, symbols of the atrocities committed by the Russians in Ukraine.

Volodymyr Zelensky: “Ukrainian and foreign journalists will come to Izium. We want the world to know what is really happening and what the Russian occupation has led to. Bucha, Mariupol, and now, unfortunately, Izium… Russia is leaving behind death everywhere.”

Several bodies with their hands tied with a rope were exhumed on Friday, near the city of Izium, according to Reuters.

Oleksandr Ilienkov, the head of the prosecutor’s office in Kharkiv region, told Reuters at the scene: “One of the bodies found has a rope around his neck and his hands tied. As for the others, according to preliminary information, there are signs of violent death. But in order to establish the facts and circumstances, the bodies are sent to forensic expertise for a more thorough investigation”.

Meanwhile, the front line is constantly shifting, and in some places, the Ukrainians have pushed the Russians to the border.

Nick Paton Walsh, International Security Editor: “The fact that the Ukrainians were able to push the front this far, at the beginning of the buffer zone on the border, Russia is only a few kilometers in that direction, is another disaster that Moscow has brought about on its own .”

Evgeni Prigozhin, the financier of the Wagner Group, known as “Putin’s Chef” was filmed while touring a prison in Russia to recruit prisoners for the Ukrainian front.

Even Russian commentators point out that Prigozhin uses a “Stalinist” method, which allows the Kremlin to avoid decreeing a general mobilization that would aggravate social tensions. Numerous Russian military bloggers also propose that Prigojin replace the Russian Minister of Defense Serghei Șoigu.

Another element of the Russian response is…the rhetorical one.

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry: “If Washington decides to supply missiles with a longer range to Kiev, then it will cross a red line and become a direct part of the conflict. We reserve the right to defend our territory with all the means at our disposal.”

John Kirby, press secretary of the US Department of Defense: “The Ukrainians are also on the offensive in Donbas and the Kherson region. We will make sure they have everything they need to continue their offensive with as much success as possible. So you will see continuous deliveries from us: artillery systems and ammunition, long-range missiles that allow them to strike beyond the Russian positions.”

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General: “We must not be complacent in the current situation. We must not think that the war is over. We need to mobilize more support to maintain sanctions and prepare for winter. The winter will be hard and we need to supply both weapons and ammunition and last but not least, we need to supply Ukraine with winter equipment, thick uniforms, tents, generators.”

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