Mass graves containing bodies with signs of abuse have been discovered in recently liberated areas in Ukraine’s partially Russian-occupied Donetsk region, according to Ukrainian authorities.
A total of 78 bodies have been exhumed from mass graves found in the cities of Lyman and Sviatohirsk, the Donetsk Regional Prosecutor’s Office announced in a statement posted on Telegram Tuesday evening.
Some of the bodies exhibited “obvious signs of a violent death,” according to the office.
“The victims had gunshot wounds, fractured ribs and skulls, and mine-explosive injuries,” a machine translation of the statement read.
Among the reported dead was a 1-year-old girl who was buried next to her family in Lyman.
Photos shared by the Donetsk Regional Prosecutor’s Office on Facebook showed Ukrainian authorities inspecting what appeared to be cordoned-off graves and body bags.
Russian forces shot people in the streets during their occupation, locals claimed.
In one incident, Russian forces shot a father in Sviatohirsk whose son needed immediate medical intervention due to numerous injuries. Both reportedly died.
Killing, torturing or taking hostage of non-combatants in war is a violation of the Geneva Conventions.
“This is how the ‘second army of the world’ fights. It destroys Ukrainian land, destroys cities and villages, kills our citizens and leaves behind only grief and death,” the Donetsk Regional Prosecutor’s Office said.
Prosecutors and law enforcement officers have started conducting investigation and procedural activities in Donetsk’s liberated cities, Pravda reported, citing the office’s head, Pavlo Uhrovetskyi.
Similar mass graves have been found in previously Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine.
One grave found in Izium, located in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region, had at least 440 bodies in it, according to officials.
Investigators have discovered evidence of torture being used against the people buried in the city, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky revealed in a televised address.
Russian forces have been accused of massacring and indiscriminately attacking civilians in the invasion of Ukraine.
The United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine found that 50 civilians, including women and children, were summarily executed in the city of Bucha, according to a report released in late April.
About 280 people were found buried in mass graves in Bucha after Russian forces were driven out of the city.