File Photo: A view of a school destroyed as a result of fight not far from the centre of Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, located some 50 km form Ukrainian-Russian border, on February 28, 2022.AFP
"The bodies of 44 civilians were found in Izyum under the rubble of a five-storey building which was destroyed by the occupiers in early March," Oleg Synegubov, governor of the eastern Kharkiv region, said on Telegram.
Although fighting continues in the area, local media quoted him as saying residents had made the discovery while clearing the rubble from an area "where there is no shelling".
Synegubov did not say who had removed the bodies nor how they had managed to do so given that the town fell to Russian troops on April 1 after several weeks of heavy fighting.
Much of the surrounding area is also under Russian control.
Separately, the regional prosecutor's office said it had opened an investigation into "the violation of the laws and customs of war" following the discovery, saying that 14 of the bodies had already been identified.
"According to the investigation, the Russian military systematically shelled Izyum between March 7-10. As a result, public infrastructure and residential buildings were destroyed," it said on Telegram.