Millions of lives at risk as winter bites in war-torn Ukraine

On Monday, Kyiv said Moscow had run a network of torture blacksites in the city, building on claims that Russian authorities had perpetrated abuses on a “horrific” scale there.

“Together with police officers and experts, (prosecutors) conducted inspections of four premises where, during the capture of the city, the occupiers illegally detained people and brutally tortured them,” the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office said in a statement.

Russian forces had also set up “pseudo-law enforcement agencies” at detention centres in Kherson as well as in a police station, it said.

“HORRIFIC” TORTURE

The remains of rubber truncheons, a wooden bat and “a device with which the occupiers tortured civilians with electricity” were found, it added.

Russian authorities also left behind paperwork documenting the administration of the detention sites, the prosecutor’s office said.

The allegations are just the latest from Kyiv against Russian troops, who have been accused of running similar abuse operations elsewhere.

Last week Ukrainian ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said Russian forces were responsible for “horrific” torture in Kherson, saying dozens were abused in detention and more were killed.

AFP spoke last week to a Kherson resident who said he spent weeks in detention where he was beaten and electrocuted by Russian and pro-Russian forces.

But the Kremlin has also come forward with allegations of abuses perpetrated by Ukrainian troops, vowing to track down and punish those it said were responsible for the “brutal” murder of nearly a dozen Russian servicemen who were allegedly surrendering.

“Without a doubt, Russia will itself search for those who committed this crime. They must be found and punished,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.