Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said his country is in talks with G-7 nations to set up a war crimes tribunal which would investigate and punish Russia and its top officials and military leaders for "war crimes" committed amid the ongoing invasion, especially after some 440 "unmarked" graves were found in Kharkiv Oblast.
"This is an extremely important direction, which is important both in the context of European integration and in the context of the internal transformation of our state," Zelensky said in reference to the EU recently bestowing 'candidate status' on Ukraine.
His comments came in an address to the nation Friday, just a day after EU chief Ursula von der Leyen visited the war-ravaged country and said in an interview that she wants to see Russian President Vladimir Putin face the International Criminal Court over war crimes.
"That Putin must lose this war and must face up to his actions, that is important to me," she told German television's Bild. She expressed that there's "no doubt" Russian forces have committed war crimes throughout the now seven-month war.
According to The Hill, "Zelensky said the proposal was made during a meeting of a group working to advance Ukraine joining the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental association of democracies with market-based economies that work to stimulate economic growth."
Currently, the United Nations said it has dispatched a forensic team of investigators to examine what Ukraine has alleged is a "mass grave" left in the wake of Russian forces' retreat from the city of Izium in the east. Zelensky in his Friday remarks has alleged "torture chambers" used against civilians were found in the formerly Russian-occupied region. Zelensky has made the claims a focus of his latest charges against Russian troops:
"More than 10 torture chambers have already been found in various cities and towns liberated in Kharkiv region," he added, describing the discovery of electrical implements for torture.
"That’s what the Nazis did. This is what Ruscists do. And they will be held accountable in the same way – both on the battlefield and in courtrooms," he said, using the term "Ruscists" for "Russian fascists".
Like with allegations surrounding Bucha before, reports of the mass burial sites quickly took over headlines in the West.
But curiously, some of the more sensational headlines perpetuated in the mainstream press were quickly and quietly walked back.
For example see the above and below Reuters headlines which came just hours apart...
The discrepancies in current claims, also given there has long been a fierce 'propaganda war' raging from all sides which is typical of any war, has led a number of independent analysts to examine the circumstances surrounding Izium.
For example, the analysis website Moon of Alabama concludes after a detailed look at the allegations of "mass graves" that "There is otherwise nothing unusual with that graveyard. During a war people on both sides die. Civilians suffer as much as soldiers while fighting around them is going on."
"The city had been heavily defended by the Ukrainians and it took the Russian military the whole of March to take it," the report continues. "A lot of the buried casualties were likely killed by artillery fire. There is no way to tell from which side that fire had came," it adds.
Below: an Associated Press photo and caption...
Amid continued calls for an international inquiry into what happened at Izium and other places where Russian forces have been newly driven back amid Ukraine's counteroffensive in the east, the Kremlin has vehemently denied carrying out the alleged atrocities.
While in Uzbekistan for last week's Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit, President Putin didn't address the allegations directly, but stressed Russia is 'not in a hurry' in terms of achieving its goals during the "special operation" in Ukraine.