'My cousin is in grave number 199': Izium resident

STORY: Volodymyr Kolesnyk is walking between graves in the town where he lives: Izium, Ukraine.

He has a list from a funeral company, and he's looking for his relatives.

This is the burial site, in some woodlands, that Ukrainian authorities say was discovered last week after the town was retaken from Russian forces.

Causes of death have not been established, but they say hundreds are buried here, including at least 17 Ukrainian soldiers found in a mass grave. Others, possibly civilians, were buried individually under flimsy wooden crosses.

Now, locals like Kolesnyk are trying to connect numbers, written on the crosses, to names.

According to the list, Kolesnyk's cousin, Yurii Yakovenko, is under number 199.

"His wife, Svitlana Yakovenko, is under number 164. And my cousin’s mother, Nataliia Yakovenko, is under number 174."

"It all happened on March 9th. A 5-story building got hit by an air strike. The air strike was conducted on the building whose address was 2 Pervomayska Street. As a result, from what I heard, 74 people were buried under rubble. But the digging out didn’t start right away, that took place in April. People started to disintegrate. My cousin, his wife and his mom died there.”

As of Sunday, the Russian government hasn't commented on the discovery of the graves, although it regularly denies that its forces have committed atrocities against civilians. Reuters also can't verify who actually dug the graves, and Moscow has accused Ukraine in the past of staging atrocities to frame Russian troops.

Ukrainian authorities say that at least one of the bodies here had their hands tied and rope marks on their neck.

Other bodies are said to be elderly people. Investigators say you can tell by the condition of their teeth.