The infrastructure of the recently liberated town of Izyum in Kharkiv Oblast is almost completely destroyed after six months of Russian occupation, city Mayor Valerii Marchenko told Ukrainian TV broadcasters on Sept. 19.
According to Marchenko, it will take up to two weeks to restore power to the city, while the work to repair natural gas infrastructure is likely to take longer. Apartment blocks are particularly challenging in that regard, as the gas pipeline networks around them are utterly destroyed.
The mayor noted that residents of Izyum who left after it was occupied by invading Russian troops are gradually returning to their homes.
“This was a city of 45,000, prior to Feb. 24,” said Marchenko.
“Not exactly en masse, but people are coming back. Not all of them will, though, as many had their homes bombed into oblivion.”
Ukrainian law enforcement officials found a mass grave site near Izyum’s boundary on Sept. 15, where nearly 440 people – who apparently died during the Russian occupation of the city – were buried. According to Kharkiv governor Oleh Synehubov, 90% of the exhumed bodies bear signs of a violent death.