Retreating Russians left “torture chamber,” mass graves in Ukrainian city
Dnipro Ukraine Russian airstrikes hit gas, electricity, and other infrastructure in Ukraine on Thursday. They knocked out heating and water supplies for large numbers of civilians as winter sets in. As snow started falling around the country, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Vladimir Putin’s tactics had left more than 10 million Ukrainians without electricity. This includes residents of villages, towns, and cities that were liberated from Russian occupation for months in eastern and south Ukraine. After suffering so much, the people of Kherson in southern Ukraine, a city where Russia’s invading troops fled just a few weeks ago, are now facing a winter without power.
But there is still joy right now. Europe hasn’t seen celebrations like the one that Kherson is experiencing right now since the defeat of Nazis by American troops.
It is only now that we can see what the Russians left behind after they fled.
The remains of torture that the invaders used to inflict on Kherson’s police station are still visible. Residents and officials from Ukraine claim that Putin’s troops made it a “torture room” and that the air is still tainted with smoke.
Oleksander was a survivor who said that some of his fellow detainees from the old police station had been electrocuted.
“After interrogation, my cellmate’s tongue became so black and swollen that he couldn’t get it back in his mouth.” he said.
Vitaly, Alesha and others said they were blindfolded after relaying intelligence to Ukrainian forces.
“They kicked me around my kidneys and punched me in my face until my nose was bleeding,” Alesha said. “They even threatened to force us to cross a minefield in order for us to reach Ukrainian positions. “
Although the Russian troops have begun to withdraw, they are still within earshot of the Dnipro River. The river is now the front line between Ukraine’s defense forces, who have retaken the ground and pushed up to its western banks, and the occupiers who have dug in on their side.
This leaves Kherson, on its west bank, and all its inhabitants still within reach of Russian-controlled cell phones towers.
Besides traumatized survivors, mass graves were also left behind by the Russian retreat. Ukraine’s chief investigator stated that all the bodies found in a Kherson gravesite had signs of torture.
Dmytro Lubinets, the Ukrainian parliament’s human rights commissioner, said more than 3,000 crimes were committed during Russia’s months-long occupation of the Kherson, and 90% of them were war crimes, including rape, torture, and murder.
Ukrainian media quoted Interior Ministry Denys Monastyrsky saying, “That the search has just begun, so many more burial places and dungeons will be uncovered. “
Tucker Reals, CBSNews.com’s foreign editor, is based at the CBS News London Bureau.
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I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.