Over 700 Dead Bodies Found in Liberated Territories of Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Kherson Oblasts
Europe and Human Rights Researcher,
Global Human Rights Defence
In the liberated territories of Kharkiv, Kherson, and Donetsk regions in Ukraine, more than 700 dead bodies were found in the last two months, announced the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Andriy Kostin, during a nationwide telethon on 19 November 2022 (Gerasimenko, 2022). Almost 90 per cent of the bodies were civilians, Kostin said (Gerasimenko, 2022). He also announced that more than 20 places where Ukrainian citizens were illegally detained and tortured were found in the aforementioned regions (Gerasimenko, 2022).
“Over 700 bodies have been discovered in the liberated territories of Kharkiv, Kherson and Donetsk oblasts during the last two months alone. And almost 90% of them are civilians. More than 20 places have been found where Ukrainian citizens were illegally detained and tortured,” quoting the words of the Prosecutor General (Tyshchenko, 2022).
According to data from the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office, most crimes against civilians and torture chambers were registered in the Kharkiv region (Ukrinform, 2022). Kostin said that in almost every city and village in the region, law enforcement officers have found places where civilians were killed (Polskie Radio, 2022).
“We are seeing the same situation in the Kherson Oblast,” Kostin said (Tyshchenko, 2022). The Prosecutor General noted that in the recently liberated Kherson region, the Office of the Prosecutor General has just started to identify crimes committed by the Russian military against civilians (Censor.net, 2022).
Earlier this month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, stated that investigators had discovered more than 400 war crimes committed by Russians in the Kherson region after the withdrawal of the Russian troops (Polskie Radio, 2022). Also, a few days before Prosecutor General Kostin’s announcement, on 17 November 2022, the Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, said that he was “shocked” by the scale of torture Russian forces inflicted on the residents of Kherson during the city’s occupation (The Kyiv Independent news desk, 2022). “I haven’t seen such a scale of (human rights violations) before. And I personally visited all (Russian) torture chambers in different Ukrainian oblasts,” Lubinets said (The Kyiv Independent news desk, 2022).
Since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, National Police investigators have initiated more than 43,000 criminal proceedings based on the facts of crimes committed by the Russian military (Gerasimenko, 2022). According to Prosecutor General Kostin, 12 Russian soldiers have already been convicted of war crimes in Ukraine (Gerasimenko, 2022). He noted that most of the convicts are in Ukraine (Gerasimenko, 2022).
In total, Ukrainian prosecutors announced the suspicion of war crimes against 216 Russian soldiers, 17 of which were prisoners of war (Gerasimenko, 2022). The rest were suspected in absentia (Gerasimenko, 2022).
Sources and Further Reading
Censor.net. (2022, November 19). Понад 700 тіл виявили на деокупованих Харківщині, Херсонщині й Донеччині, - Генпрокурор. Censor.net. Retrieved November 21, 2022, from https://censor.net/ua/news/3381789/ponad_700_til_vyyavyly_na_deokupovanyh_harkivschyni_hersonschyni_yi_donechchyni_genprokuror.
Gerasimenko, J. (2022, November 20). На деокупованих територіях виявили понад 700 тіл убитих та загиблих — Генпрокурор. Hromadske. Retrieved November 21, 2022, from https://hromadske.ua/posts/na-deokupovanih-teritoriyah-viyavili-ponad-700-til-vbitih-ta-zagiblih-genprokuror.
The Kyiv Independent news desk. (2022, November 17). Ombudsman says he’s ‘shocked’ by scale of torture Russian forces inflicted on Kherson residents. The Kyiv Independent. Retrieved November 21, 2022, from https://kyivindependent.com/news-feed/ombudsman-says-hes-shoked-by-scale-of-torture-russian-forces-inflicted-on-kherson-residents.
Polskie Radio. (2022, November 21). Over 700 bodies found in Ukraine's Kharkiv, Kherson, Donetsk regions: official. Polskie Radio. Retrieved November 21, 2022, from https://www.polskieradio.pl/395/9766/Artykul/3073894,Over-700-bodies-found-in-Ukraines-Kharkiv-Kherson-Donetsk-regions-official.
Tyshchenko, K. (2022, November 19). Bodies of over 700 civilians discovered in liberated Kharkiv, Kherson and Donetsk oblasts. Ukrainska Pravda. Retrieved November 21, 2022, from https://www.pravda.com.ua/eng/news/2022/11/19/7377111/.
Ukrinform. (2022, November 19). Prosecutor General of Ukraine: Over 700 bodies discovered within de-occupied areas. Ukrinform. Retrieved November 21, 2022, from https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-ato/3618127-prosecutor-general-of-ukraine-over-700-bodies-discovered-within-deoccupied-areas.html.