Over 40 bodies found under building in Ukraine's Izyum

Pro-Russian troops drive a tank in the Donetsk region of Ukraine. PHOTO: REUTERS

KYIV, UKRAINE (AFP) - Rescuers on Tuesday (May 10) found the bodies of 44 civilians under the rubble of a destroyed building in the eastern Ukrainian town of Izyum, now under Russian control, the regional governor said.

"The bodies of 44 civilians were found in Izyum under the rubble of a five-storey building which was destroyed by the occupiers in early March," Oleg Synegubov, governor of the eastern Kharkiv region, said on Telegram.

Although fighting continues in the area, local media quoted him as saying residents had made the discovery while clearing the rubble from an area "where there is no shelling".

Synegubov did not say who had removed the bodies nor how they had managed to do so given that the town fell to Russian troops on April 1 after several weeks of heavy fighting.

Much of the surrounding area is also under Russian control.

Separately, the regional prosecutor's office said it had opened an investigation into "the violation of the laws and customs of war" following the discovery, saying that 14 of the bodies had already been identified.

"According to the investigation, the Russian military systematically shelled Izyum between March 7-10. As a result, public infrastructure and residential buildings were destroyed," it said on Telegram.

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