IZIUM, Ukraine (Reuters) - Bodies with their hands tied were found at a mass burial site in Izium after Ukrainian forces recaptured the city in northeastern Ukraine, the regional governor said on Friday.
"We are at the site of the mass burial of people, civilians who were buried here, and now according to our information they all have the signs of violent death," the governor, Oleg Synegubov, said at the site.
"There are bodies with hands tied behind. Each fact will be investigated and will be properly and legally evaluated," he said.
Earlier, Ukrainian officials said they had found 440 bodies in woodlands near the city of Izium. They said most of the dead were civilians, and that the site proved war crimes had been committed by Russian invaders who occupied the area for months.
Men in white overalls were digging out bodies in the wooded area where around 200 makeshift wooden crosses were scattered among trees. Some 20 white body bags could be seen.
Oleksandr Ilienkov, the chief of the prosecutor’s office for the Kharkiv region, told Reuters at the site: "One of the bodies (found) has evidence of a ligature pattern and a rope around the neck, tied hands."
"As for the others, according to preliminary information, there are signs of violent death causes. But in order to establish facts and circumstances, the bodies are (being) sent for forensic expertise for a more detailed investigation."
(Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Gareth Jones; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Mark Heinrich)