Devastation and evidence of war crimes found in wake of Russian retreat from Kharkiv Oblast

13 September, 11:19 AM
The General Staff spoke about the situation in the territories liberated from the occupiers (Photo:Handout via REUTERS)

The General Staff spoke about the situation in the territories liberated from the occupiers (Photo:Handout via REUTERS)

Ukrainian law enforcement have so far uncovered evidence of around 200 Russian war crimes in recently-liberated towns of Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine’s General Staff said in a Facebook post on Sept. 13.

Moreover, even with Russian troops having fled the area, locals in liberated settlements are still in danger, as over 70,000 square kilometers of surrounding areas are saturated with landmines and explosive ordnance.

"The defense forces are taking measures to return peaceful life to the liberated communities as soon as possible," the General Staff’s message reads.

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The Ukrainian army continues to liberate settlements in the east and south of Ukraine from the Russian occupiers. Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Synyehubov confirmed that in some areas of the region, Ukrainian defenders have already reached the state border.

The Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, General Valery Zaluzhny, said that since the beginning of September an area of more than 3,000 square kilometers has been returned to Ukrainian control.

The Ukrainian army expelled Russian invasion forces from more than 20 settlements on Sept. 12 alone, General Zaluzhny said.

Meanwhile, the key city of Izyum in Kharkiv Oblast, liberated on Sept. 10 from months of Russian occupation, remains without power, water supply, and cut off from communications.

“There’s currently no power, no water, no (Internet) connection,” Izyum Mayor Valerii Marchenko said in an interview with Ukrainian media outlet Glavkom.

"When they get the electricity back, there will be water. It's a matter of time – (the emergency crews) need at least a week to turn on the electricity."

He said the Ukrainian military is installing Starlink and setting up WiFi points. Local residents can come to points where there is a connection and call relatives.

According to Marchenko, Kharkiv regional administration is preparing to dispatch a humanitarian convoy to Izyum in coming days. Ukrainian troops continue to scour the city for remnants of Russian units. Afterwards, sappers will come in and sweep Izyum for landmines and explosive devices.

The mayor warned that it’s likely going to be impossible to restore central heating to apartment complexes in the city before cold weather sets in.

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