UN Report Suggests Russian Troops May Have Tortured Ukrainian POWs, But Is It Really Proof?

According to the Monitoring Mission, interviews conducted with 60 recently released Ukrainian POWs painted a harrowing picture of their experiences in Russian captivity.

“Almost every single one of the Ukrainian POWs we interviewed described how Russian servicepersons or officials tortured them during their captivity, using repeated beatings, electric shocks, threats of execution, prolonged stress positions and mock execution. Over half of them were subjected to sexual violence,” said Danielle Bell, the head of HRMMU.

“Most POWs also recounted the anguish of not being allowed to communicate with their families and being deprived of adequate food and medical attention.”

Credible allegations

The report documented “credible allegations” of executions of at least 32 Ukrainian POWs,  in 12 separate incidents between December and February. HRMMU has independently verified three of these incidents.

HRMMU also noted findings from interviews with 44 Russian POWs in Ukrainian captivity, stating that while the POWs did not make any allegations of torture at established internment facilities, several provided credible accounts of torture and ill-treatment while in transit having been removed from the battlefield.

Violations in Russian-occupied territory

In addition to the findings on POWs, the report detailed continued violence against civilians in Ukrainian territory occupied by Russia, citing, among other violations, killings, arbitrary detention and restrictions on freedom of expression.

The report highlighted the Ukrainian Government’s continued prosecution and conviction of individuals for activities allegedly conducted under Russian occupation.

Civilian casualties remained high during the December 2023-February 2024 period, with conflict-related violence leading to the deaths of 429 civilians and injuring 1,374.

A significant intensification of missile and other aerial munitions (such as suicide unmanned aerial vehicles), together with attacks by Russia in late December and January, caused a spike in civilian casualties in areas far from the frontline, while the overall civilian casualty numbers remained comparable to the previous period.

Ukrainian cities under attack

Meanwhile, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Ukraine reported that attacks continued in the south and east of the country on Monday and Tuesday, impacting civilians and critical infrastructure.

Several people were injured in the cities of Odesa and Kharkiv, according to local authorities.

Hundreds of thousands of people remain without power, mainly in Odesa and Kharkiv Regions. Authorities estimate that restoring the power to its full capacity will take months. Humanitarian organizations are on the ground, providing emergency aid to people affected.



  1. Are there any specific measures being taken to hold those responsible for the torture of Ukrainian POWs accountable?

    1. Yes, steps are being taken towards holding those accountable for the torture of Ukrainian POWs. The report highlights ongoing efforts by international organizations to gather evidence and ensure justice for the victims. It’s crucial that the perpetrators are brought to justice to prevent such atrocities from recurring.

  2. These atrocities committed against Ukrainian POWs are absolutely horrifying. It is crucial for the international community to hold Russia accountable for these heinous acts and ensure justice is served for the victims.

  3. These harrowing accounts from Ukrainian POWs paint a grim picture of the atrocities committed by Russian troops. The evidence provided by the Monitoring Mission should not be taken lightly and harsh actions must be taken to hold those responsible accountable for their crimes.

  4. In my opinion, the evidence presented in the UN report is disturbing and points towards serious violations of human rights. It’s crucial for the international community to address these atrocities and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

  5. Is there concrete evidence to support these claims of torture against Ukrainian POWs by Russian troops, or are they based solely on interviews?

    1. In response to Emma Smith’s question, while the claims of torture against Ukrainian POWs by Russian troops are primarily based on interviews with recently released POWs, the UN Monitoring Mission has documented credible allegations and independently verified incidents, providing substantial evidence to support these claims.

  6. Is there concrete evidence supporting these claims of torture, or is it solely based on the testimonies of the POWs?

    1. It’s important to note that the report mentions independently verified incidents and credible accounts from Russian POWs as well. While testimonies play a significant role, the presence of concrete evidence adds weight to the claims made by the Ukrainian POWs.

  7. I believe the UN report sheds light on the grave human rights violations taking place in the Ukrainian conflict. It is deeply concerning to hear about the torture and mistreatment of POWs on both sides. The international community must take decisive action to hold those responsible accountable and ensure justice for the victims.

  8. As the head of HRMMU, it’s deeply concerning to see the pattern of torture and violence inflicted upon Ukrainian POWs. The documented allegations demand a thorough investigation and accountability for these abhorrent actions.

  9. It’s absolutely appalling to read about the atrocities committed against the Ukrainian POWs by Russian forces. The evidence presented in the UN report is deeply concerning and demands immediate international attention and action. No one should ever have to endure such inhumane treatment, regardless of the circumstances.

  10. As a former journalist who has covered conflicts in the past, I find these reports deeply troubling. It’s unacceptable that such atrocities are being committed against POWs and civilians. The international community must ensure accountability and justice for the victims.

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