Ukraine accuses Russia of "systematically" committing atrocities against civilians. Now there are new charges.
Kyiv - For 15 months, there have been repeated reports of war crimes in the Ukraine war. Now Ukrainian prisoners of war are making serious allegations of torture against Russia. Russian prison guards routinely torture deported civilians with beatings and electric shocks and threaten them with executions. This is reported by the independent Russian news site Meduza, citing former Ukrainian prisoners of war.
"We were turned into hunted animals," said Alexander Tarasov, who organized rallies against the Russian occupation in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson before his arrest in March 2022. The guards are also said to have used torture tactics against the Spanish volunteer Mariano García Calatayud. He is one of several foreigners who were also forcibly deported.
On the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia, numerous Ukrainian civilians are being held in special pre-trial detention centers. © IMAGO/Sergei Malgavko
Numerous Ukrainian civilians forcibly deported in the Ukraine war
In total, according to Meduza, about 100 Ukrainian civilians are currently being held in special pre-trial detention centers on the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia. These are said to be volunteers, journalists and military officers. The Russian authorities do not classify them as prisoners of war, do not bring charges and do not allow legal advice. Russian security service experts quoted by Meduza said that Ukrainian civilians were being held captive to help Russia identify Ukrainian military informants and build its own intelligence network.
The Ukrainian military estimates the number of Ukrainian civilians held across Russia at more than 3000,<>, many of whom are said to have died in captivity. This information cannot be independently verified.
Allegations in the Ukraine war: "Torture policy is part of Moscow's criminal plan"
In April, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin accused Russia of "systematically" committing atrocities in Ukraine. "These actions are not accidental or spontaneous, they are part of a widespread and systematic attack by the Kremlin on the civilian population of Ukraine," Kostin told the Foreign Affairs Committee in the US House of Representatives in Washington. "This policy of torture is part of Moscow's criminal plan to subjugate the Ukrainians." Russia is shamelessly violating the basic principles of international law in the Ukraine war. According to Kostin, Ukrainian law enforcement agencies are investigating about 80,000 cases of alleged Russian war crimes in the country. Moscow denies all allegations.
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Since Russia's annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict in 2014, human rights groups and the United Nations have regularly reported on the illegal detention and torture of civilians. (cs)