Izium: the first city recovered

Photos and text by Carlo Bravo Ruiz

Kharkov (Special for The Republic)

The city of Izium It gained sad international fame because it was the scene of the first major battle when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began last March. And a few days ago, Izium also made world news as the scene of the bloody battles of the so-called Ukrainian counteroffensive, which has managed to recover an extensive territory invaded by the Russians.

Izium is now said to be the Kremlin’s worst defeat since the failed capture of the capital of kyiv. Ukraine. The city is located on the territory of the newly incorporated regions (Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia) to Russia after a controversial referendum that has been rejected by almost everyone.

Izium is an old Cossack-related city located on the banks of the historic Donets River, whose banks mark a natural border with Russian territory.

Our goal was to reach the area where on September 11 a huge mass grave was discovered with 440 corpses (including 5 children and more than 200 women), many of them with their hands and feet tied. But it was impossible to continue, because the war front is very close and there are fears of bombings and counter-attacks by pro-Russian armed groups.

On the way we were able to verify what the Ukrainian authorities say: that 80 percent of Izium’s buildings were destroyed by heavy fighting and shelling. And it is here that the term “earth devastated” by war is understood.

Back in a safer zone, we heard on the news that President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the Ukrainian army made a “rather rapid and powerful advance” in the south in the face of the Russian attempt to annex several Ukrainian territories. “Dozens of settlements have already been liberated from the fake Russian referendum this week alone, in the Kherson region, the Kharkov region, the Luhansk region and the Donetsk region together,” Zelensky said.

We also learned that Russia today completed parliamentary procedures for the incorporation of the four partially occupied territories in the east and south of Ukraine.

The Russian Duma (Congress) approved the annexation of the four Ukrainian regions. Given this, the Government of Ukraine closed the door to any peace talks with the Russian president with a decree, Vladimir Putin and considered the annexation null.