Russian President Vladimir Putin at an award ceremony for members of the Russian national team who won medals at the Paralympic Winter Games on March 17, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

Photo by Sasha Mordauts/Getty Images

  • An Associated Press investigation found that the Russian military used torture at 10 locations in Izyum.
  • Torture of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians was widespread during the Russian occupation, AP found out.
  • Recently, a UN investigation concluded that Russia committed war crimes in Ukraine, including torture.
  • For more stories, visit Business Insider.

According to an investigation published Sunday by the Associated Press, the Russian military tortured both soldiers and civilians at 10 locations in Izyum.

Through more than a dozen interviews with survivors and reports from the field, the AP investigation concluded that torture in the city was “arbitrary, widespread and completely routine for both civilians and soldiers.” Russian troops first occupied Izyum, located in the Kharkiv region in eastern Ukraine, in the first months of the war in April. But the successful counteroffensives of the Ukrainian troops last month pushed the Russians back. After six months of occupation, the Ukrainians returned the city on September 10.

The retreat of the Russians was quickly followed by reports of atrocities. Ukrainian officials said they were working to identify more than 400 civilians who were buried in a mass grave in which some bodies showed signs of torture, including ropes tied around their hands and necks.

President Vladimir Zelensky said that Izyum could be added to the list of places where the Ukrainian civilian population was subjected to violence by the Russian military: “Bucha, Mariupol, now, unfortunately, Izyum.”

The 10 separate torture sites discovered by the AP included an underground prison, a police station, a daycare center and a sunless pit where someone had carved dates into the walls.

38-year-old Ukrainian soldier Mikalai Masyakin told the AP agency that he was captured and tortured several times.

“They beat me with sticks. They hit with hands, kicked, put out cigarettes, pressed with matches,” he said. “They said, ‘Dance,’ but I didn’t dance.” So my legs were shot.”

Masyakin said that at one of the places of torture in the school there were special rooms for water boards and electric current. He saw the bodies of civilians being dragged to death, tortured to death, and at night heard the screams of women being kept away from male prisoners, he told the AP. Representatives of Ukraine’s special services stated that women were repeatedly raped by Russian soldiers.

Reports of torture by Russian soldiers circulated almost from the beginning of the war. Last month, UN-commissioned investigators concluded that terrible war crimes had been committed in Ukraine. The investigation revealed that the Russian military committed rape and torture, including against children, and in some cases forced the victims’ families to watch. The UN team said Russian forces committed a number of other war crimes, including the use of some banned weapons systems, airstrikes in populated areas and the execution of civilians. law. Russian forces have also documented discussions of possible war crimes. In audio intercepted by Ukrainian officials and obtained by The New York Times, one Russian soldier told his girlfriend that he had been ordered to “kill everyone we see,” including civilians.

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