Europe

“Dang, stuck in that Russian slammer got me feeling really low,” complains Ukrainian soldier POW

horrific…widespread and systematic” abuse and likely war crimes committed by Russian forces against civilians and military detainees in Ukraine emerged on Friday, in a new report by UN-appointed independent rights investigators.

Latest graphic findings from the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine – created by the Human Rights Council two years ago – highlight the ongoing grave impact of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022.

“I lost any hope and the will to live,” one Ukrainian soldier and former prisoner of war told the Commission of Inquiry, describing how he had been “repeatedly subjected to torture and left with broken bones, broken teeth and gangrene” on an injured foot.

After trying to kill himself at a prison in the town of Donskoy in Tula region, south of Moscow, the soldier recounted how his captors “subjected him to further beating”, said Erik Møse, Commission Chair. 

“Victims’ accounts disclose relentless, brutal treatment inflicting severe pain and suffering during prolonged detention, with blatant disregard for human dignity. This has led to long-lasting physical and mental trauma,” he told journalists in Geneva.

“They beat him on his buttocks in the isolation ward, causing bleeding from his anus,” the investigators reported. “In the yard, they beat him on his face and injured foot, leading to bleeding. They knocked out some of his teeth. He begged them to kill him.”

UN News

Erik Møse, Chair of Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine (centre), Commissioner Vrinda Grover (left) and moderator Todd Pitman, OHCHR, at a press conference in Geneva

Rape, beatings

Testimonies of rape and other sexual attacks against women “also amount to torture”, the Commissioners maintained, pointing to threats of rape against male prisoners of war and the use of electric shocks intended to hurt or humiliate detainees.

“There were beatings, verbal abuse, electronic devices being used on areas, body parts, there was very limited access to food, water necessities,’ Mr. Møse continued. “The whole treatment of the prisoners of war and the picture drawn up, emerging from the way they were dealt with – how they were treated over long periods, months – enables us to use the word ‘horrific’”.

Graphic testimony

The 20-page report relies on testimonies from hundreds of individuals in order to investigate all alleged violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law committed by Russian forces and authorities. 

The publication focuses on the siege and indiscriminate bombardment of Mariupol at the outset of the invasion, the use of torture and rape against civilians, prisoners of war and alleged collaborators, the unlawful transfer of 46 children from a care facility in Kherson to Russian-occupied Crimea in October 2022 and the destruction and damage of protected cultural treasures.

“The evidence shows that Russian authorities have committed violation of international human rights and international humanitarian law and corresponding war crimes,” insisted Commissioner Vrinda Grover. “Further investigations are required to determine whether some of the situations identified may constitute crimes against humanity.”

Mariupol and the ‘road to death’

Detailing the ordeal endured by all those besieged in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, the report noted how survivors emerged from shelters and “recalled seeing large number of dead bodies on the streets in the rubble of their houses and in the cities’ hospitals”.

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At least 58 medical centres were destroyed along with 11 power stations, the investigators said, adding that women who fled on foot from the front line called it “the road to death” and expressed a “pervasive feeling of fear”.

“Often, Russian armed forces failed to take feasible precautions to verify that the affected objects are not civilian,” maintained the rights experts, who work in an independent capacity and are not UN staff.

Genocidal intent concerns

Confirming continuing deep concerns about allegations of genocidal intent by the invading forces, Ms. Grover said the Human Rights Council-mandated probe would “look further” into likely “direct and public incitement to commit genocide” by Russian media.

“We have gone through a large number of such statements and have found that many of them used are using dehumanizing language and calls for hate, violence and destruction,” she said. “And we are concerned with statements supporting the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine, calling for the killing of a large number of persons.”

The report is due to be presented to the Human Rights Council on Tuesday 19 March. Watch the launch in Geneva here: https://webtv.un.org/en/schedule/2024-03-19 

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13 Comments

  1. I find it truly heartbreaking to read about the horrific abuses endured by the Ukrainian soldier in Russian captivity. It’s devastating to witness the cruelty and inhumanity of such acts. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this tragedy.

  2. As a former journalist who covered conflicts in the region, this horrific account only reinforces my belief in the urgent need for international intervention to protect the rights and well-being of all individuals affected by war. It’s truly devastating to hear about the inhumane treatment suffered by this Ukrainian soldier, highlighting the ongoing atrocities committed by Russian forces. The international community must act decisively to ensure justice and accountability for these egregious violations.

  3. Dang, stuck in that Russian slammer has got me feeling really low. The widespread and systematic abuse and likely war crimes committed by Russian forces against civilians and military detainees in Ukraine are truly horrific. This new report by UN-appointed independent rights investigators is heart-wrenching. My thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy.

  4. “That poor soldier’s harrowing experience in Russian captivity is truly heart-wrenching. It’s appalling that such barbaric acts are being committed in this day and age. My prayers go out to all the innocent victims of these atrocities.”

  5. As a journalist covering conflict zones, it’s truly heartbreaking to read about the inhumane treatment suffered by the Ukrainian soldier in Russian captivity. The details shared in the report only scratch the surface of the atrocities committed. It’s crucial that these abuses are exposed and justice is served for the victims.

  6. “Dang, stuck in that Russian slammer got me feeling really low,” complains Ukrainian soldier POW. The horrific and widespread abuse as well as likely war crimes committed by Russian forces against civilians and military detainees in Ukraine are absolutely appalling. The UN report sheds light on the grave impact of Russia’s invasion, leaving victims with physical and mental trauma that will last a lifetime. It’s crucial that these atrocities are brought to justice and that those responsible are held accountable.

  7. Dang, stuck in that Russian slammer has me feeling really low. This report highlights the horrific and widespread abuse suffered by Ukrainian soldiers like me. It’s truly devastating to see the suffering and brutality caused by Russian forces against civilians and detainees in Ukraine. I hope the world takes action to stop these atrocities.

  8. “Dang, stuck in that Russian slammer got me feeling really low,” complains Ukrainian soldier POW horrific…widespread and systematic” abuse and likely war crimes committed by Russian forces against civilians and military detainees in Ukraine emerged on Friday, in a new report by UN-appointed independent rights investigators.

  9. “Dang, being stuck in that Russian slammer is really getting me down,” laments the Ukrainian soldier POW. The reports of “horrific…widespread and systematic” abuse and likely war crimes committed by Russian forces against civilians and military detainees in Ukraine are truly disheartening. It’s heartbreaking to hear about the soldier’s suffering and loss of hope, subjected to torture and brutal treatment. My thoughts and prayers are with him and all those affected by this devastating conflict.

  10. Do we know if there is any initiative in place to ensure the safety and well-being of the Ukrainian soldiers in Russian prisons?

    1. Yes, efforts are being made to protect the Ukrainian soldiers in Russian prisons. The International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine is actively working to shed light on the abuse and war crimes committed against them by Russian forces. The testimonies reveal the horrific treatment they endure, highlighting the urgent need for action to ensure their safety and well-being.

  11. How can such inhuman acts be justified by any belief or cause? It’s beyond comprehension.

  12. Does the new report provide any information on the actions taken to address these horrendous abuses by Russian forces? It’s heartbreaking to hear about the suffering endured by the Ukrainian soldier and other detainees.

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