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President of Ukraine: Mass grave found in recaptured city

KYIV, Ukraine – President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukrainian authorities had found a mass burial ground near a recently recaptured northeastern city formerly occupied by Russian forces.

“A mass grave of him has been found in Izium in the Kharkiv region. The necessary procedures have already begun there. More information – clear, verifiable information – will be available tomorrow,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly televised speech.

Associated Press journalists saw the site in a wooded area outside Izium on Thursday. A mass grave has a marker that says it contains the bodies of 17 Ukrainian soldiers. It is surrounded by hundreds of individual graves with only the cross to mark them.

Zelenskyy cited other Ukrainian cities where authorities said the retreating Russian troops left behind mass graves of civilians and evidence of alleged war crimes.

“Buch, Mariupol, unfortunately, Izium. … Russia leaves death everywhere. And it has to be responsible for it. The world must hold Russia truly responsible for this war,” he said.

THIS IS A HOT NEWS UPDATE. The AP’s previous story follows.

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – President Volodymyr Zelenskyy worked Thursday to add political impetus to Ukraine’s recent military achievements against Russia, while missile strikes caused flooding. near his homeland demonstrates Moscow’s determination to regain the battlefield advantage.

A week after the Ukrainian counteroffensive forced Russian troops to withdraw from the northeast, Zelenskyy met the head of the European Union Ursula von der Leyen on his third wartime visit to Kyiv. Von der Leyen publicly expressed full support of the 27-nation bloc and wore an outfit bearing the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

“It is extremely important and necessary to provide Ukraine with the military equipment it needs to defend itself. And they’ve proven they can do this, if they’re well equipped,” she said.

Air raid sirens sounded twice in Kyiv during von der Leyen’s meeting with Zelenskyy, a reminder that Russia has long-range weapons that can reach any location in Ukraine even though the capital did not. attacked in recent weeks.

Ukrainian officials said Russian missiles late Wednesday hit a dam near Kryvyi Rih, Zelenskyy’s birthplace and largest city in central Ukraine, flooding more than 100 homes. Russian military bloggers claim that the attack was aimed at areas downstream where Ukrainian forces entered during their counter-offensive.

The head of local government on Thursday announced a new attack on the dam and said emergency teams were working to prevent more water from escaping.

The first attack so close to his roots angered Zelenskyy, who said the attacks had no military value.

In fact, attacking hundreds of thousands of civilians is another reason Russia lost.

The United Nations General Assembly has said it will vote on whether to make a procedural exception allowing Zelenskyy to deliver a pre-recorded speech to a meeting of world leaders next week. .

The proposed document to be voted on on Friday would prompt the 193-member body to express concern that leaders of “peace-loving sovereign states” could not participate directly “because reasons beyond their control due to ongoing invasions, aggressions, military hostilities. do not allow safe departure and return to the country, or the need to perform their duties and functions of defense and security”.

On Thursday, the 35-nation Assembly of Governors of the United Nations atomic agency adopted a resolution calling on Moscow to immediately end its occupation of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine. Fears of a possible radioactive disaster have beset the power plant, Europe’s largest, as Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of shelling the plant and surrounding areas for weeks. via.

The document, which expressed a markedly harsher tone than previous statements by IAEA officials, was approved by 26 votes. Russia and Beijing voted against, while seven Asian and African countries abstained.

The resolution calls on Russia to return control of the plant to Ukraine and “immediately cease all action against the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and any other nuclear facilities in Ukraine.

As Zelenskyy courted allies with optimism from events of the past week, Russian President Vladimir Putin met face-to-face with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a summit on regional security. region in Uzbekistan.

Xi’s government, which says it has “unlimited” friendship with Moscow before the February 24 invasion of Ukraine, has refused to criticize Russia’s military actions. At the start of the talks on Thursday, Putin thanked Xi and said he was open to discussing China’s unspecified “concerns” about Ukraine.

“We appreciate the balanced position of our Chinese friends regarding the Ukraine crisis,” Putin said as he faced Xi across a long table.

Putin and Xi’s official meeting on the sidelines of the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security alliance created as a counterweight to US influence, drew a comparison to the meeting. between Zelenskyy and the chairman of the executive committee of the European Union.

The EU Parliament on Thursday completed the withdrawal process to approve a concessional loan of 5 billion euros for Ukraine, a key part of a 9 billion euro aid package to offset the costs of the war. Zelenskyy insists his allies need to supply more weapons, saying the only way to ensure the security of the Ukrainians is to “close the skies” over the country with Western-supplied air defense systems. provided by Western allies.

Germany, the EU’s economic powerhouse, announced on Thursday that it will send two more MARS II multiple launch rocket systems to Ukraine, as well as 50 DINGO armored vehicles.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is pressuring Chancellor Olaf Scholz to decide whether to deliver advanced tanks to Ukraine soon, as the country’s counteroffensive has gained traction.

“In the decisive period in which Ukraine is now finding itself, I also do not believe it is a decision that can be delayed for long,” Baerbock said.

As a reminder of the suffering the war has caused, a Ukrainian volunteer soldier captured in the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol told US lawmakers on Thursday about lifting the wounded. detained when they succumbed to torture and untreated wounds.

Ukrainian Yuliia Paievska, who was arrested by pro-Russian forces in March and held for three months in changing locations on Russian-allied territory in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, spoke with the founders. at the European Commission for Security and Cooperation, also known as the Helsinki Mission.

Paievska, the most detailed public recount of his time in captivity, describes “inmates in the cell screaming for weeks, and then dying of torture without any medical help.” .” She continued: “Then, in this torment of hell, the only thing they felt before they died was further abuse and beatings.”

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