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Kremlin Denies Mass Grave ‘Lie’ in Recaptured Ukraine

Forensic technicians at the site of a mass grave in a forest on the outskirts of Izyum. Juan Barreto / AFP

Ukraine’s accusations that Russian forces carried out atrocities against soldiers and civilians in the recaptured eastern city of Izyum are a “lie,” the Kremlin said Monday.

Ukrainian officials said nearly all of the exhumed bodies in around 450 graves uncovered near Izyum last week showed signs of violent death. Kyiv’s Western allies expressed shock at the discovery and accused Russia of being likely responsible for war crimes.

“It’s a lie and of course we’ll stand up for the truth in this entire story,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday.

“Kyiv is pushing the same scenario in Izyum as it did with the provocation in Bucha,” Peskov said.

Bucha, a town and region near Kyiv, became synonymous with alleged Russian atrocities after the discovery of around 1,300 bodies in and around the area following Russian forces’ retreat from the capital in late March.

Russia has repeatedly dismissed evidence of executions and torture by its forces in Bucha and other recaptured Ukrainian areas as “fakes” and “provocations.”

Ukrainian forces reclaimed Izyum and other areas in the northeastern region of Kharkiv this month as part of a lightning counteroffensive that appeared to have caught Russian troops off-guard. 

Peskov’s dismissal of Ukrainian claims echoes Russian state media coverage, which likened the accusations of torture and killings in Izyum to “Nazi propaganda.”

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