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War in Ukraine: what to remember on the 205th day of the Russian invasion

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Ukrainian authorities on Friday discovered hundreds of graves in a forest on the outskirts of Izium, a town recently recaptured from Russian forces. In addition, fighting and shelling continue on the front and the separatist authorities in Lugansk have announced the death of a pro-Russian local prosecutor.

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After the recapture of the city of Izium by Ukrainian forces, hundreds of graves were discovered in a forest on the outskirts of the city. Further east, in the separatist region of Lugansk, the authorities announced the death of a local pro-Russian prosecutor, killed by an explosion. Finally, in the Kharkiv region, 12 people were injured in Russian shelling.

450 tombs discovered near Izioum, a city recaptured from the Russians

Ukrainian authorities on Friday discovered hundreds of graves in a forest on the outskirts of Izium, a town recently recaptured from Russian forces in the Kharkiv region, an area where police say they have discovered ten “torture rooms”. As such, “99% of the exhumed bodies showed signs of violent death”, declared in the evening the regional governor Oleg Synegoubov. “There are several bodies with their hands tied behind their backs and one person is buried with a rope around their neck. Obviously these people were tortured and executed,” he added.

According to local authorities, a total of 443 graves were discovered on this site, including a grave containing the bodies of 17 Ukrainian soldiers. Two men in white uniforms were digging the bottom in the sandy soil there on Friday, near a cross with the inscription: “Ukrainian army, 17 people. Izioum, from the morgue”, according to AFP journalists on the spot.

According to Oleg Kotenko, government official for the search for missing persons, these graves were dug during the fighting when the city was taken by Russian forces in March and during the Russian occupation, which ended last week. Some graves could contain several bodies.

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“The graves that do not bear names are those of people (found) in the street,” said Oleg Kotenko, according to whom “there are many people who died of hunger”. “This part of the city was isolated, without supplies. People were blocked, nothing worked”. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations immediately indicated that it wanted to send a team to Izioum “soon” to “determine the circumstances of the death of these people”.

Reactions were quick to pour in as Anthony Blinken, US Secretary of State on Friday accused Russia of acting in an “appalling” way. Russia is acting in an “appalling way and it is seen and repeated every time the Russian tide withdraws from parts of the territories it occupied in Ukraine. You see what it leaves in its wake”, he said. he told the press.

A pro-Russian prosecutor killed

On the front, the fighting and bombardments continued on Friday in all directions. In the East, the separatist authorities in Lugansk announced the death of a local pro-Russian prosecutor, killed by an explosion in the premises where he worked, the nature of which they did not specify. Pro-Russian authorities have also reported other attacks against occupation cadres in southern Ukraine.

In Kryvyï Rig, in the center of the country, AFP journalists heard an explosion, the authorities announcing a new strike against hydraulic infrastructures while Russian bombardments have caused flooding there in recent days.

12 injured in Russian shelling near Kharkiv

In the Kharkiv region, 12 people were injured in “massive” Russian shelling in areas recently retaken from the Russians, and four more people in the city of Kharkiv itself, according to regional authorities. The Ukrainian presidency reported “positional battles” in the Lugansk region, while in the Donetsk region, Russian bombardments, in particular on Bakhmout, left five dead and six injured.

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On the southern front, where the Ukrainian forces meet more resistance than in Kharkiv, the “situation remains difficult” but the Ukrainian forces continue to bombard the bridges used by the forces of Moscow, according to the same source.

Turkish President Erdogan calls for an end to the war “as soon as possible”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Friday in Samarkand for an end to the war in Ukraine “as soon as possible”, shortly before a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “We are working to put an end to the conflict in Ukraine as quickly as possible through diplomatic means,” declared the Turkish head of state before the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, in the presence in particular of Vladimir Putin.

According to the official program, the two leaders are to meet at 11:30 a.m. on the sidelines of the summit. The Turkish and Russian presidents had already met face to face in early August in Sochi (Russia) on the Black Sea. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has maintained relations with kyiv and Moscow, whose representatives he has brought together twice.

But, while providing combat drones to kyiv, it has multiplied in recent months conciliatory gestures towards Moscow, particularly in terms of trade. In August, the two leaders had agreed to deliveries of Russian gas to Turkey payable in rubles.

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