Ukraine finds hundreds in mass grave in Izium

STORY: Ukrainian officials say they found a mass burial site of at least 440 bodies, mainly civilians, in the northeastern city of Izium after it was recaptured from Russian forces.

Proof, they said, of war crimes carried out by the invaders in a territory they occupied for months.

Ukrainian police chief Ihor Klymenko told a news conference on Friday (September 16) all bodies recovered so far appeared to be civilians, though they had information some soldiers might be buried there too. Exhumations continue.

This would be the biggest mass burial uncovered in Europe since the aftermath of the 1990s Balkan wars.

Russia did not immediately comment. In the past it has denied its troops commit atrocities.

In a video address overnight, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy - who visited Izium on Wednesday (September 14) - likened the latest discovery to graves found in Bucha and Mariupol.

"Russia is leaving death behind it everywhere and must be held responsible. The world must bring Russia to real responsibility for this war. We will do everything for this."

Ukrainian forces retook this front-line stronghold in the Kharkiv region after thousands of Russian troops fled the area, abandoning weapons and ammunition.

Less than 40 miles away in Kupiansk, small units of Ukrainian troops were securing a nearly deserted ghost town.

It was the partial capture of this railway junction city on Saturday (September 10) that cut Russia's supply lines and led to a swift collapse at the front, in a conflict Moscow calls a "special military operation" to disarm its neighbor.

This police station was hastily abandoned - troops left Russian flags and a portrait of President Vladimir Putin on the floor. Records have been torched and there is blood in the jail cells.

After a week of rapid gains in the northeast, Ukrainian officials are trying to dampen expectations they could continue at that pace.

They say Russian troops who fled the Kharkiv region plan to defend territory in nearby Luhansk and Donetsk, and are digging in.