“More than in previous periods”: the UN mission recorded the execution of 32 Ukrainian prisoners by Russian troops over the winter. Experts published a report and also interviewed 60 Ukrainian soldiers recently released from captivity.

Russia continues to torture and execute Ukrainian prisoners of war, according to a report by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine released on March 26.

The 38th UN report on the human rights situation in Ukraine covers the period from December 1, 2023, to February 29, 2024. Among other things, the experts interviewed 60 Ukrainian soldiers recently released from captivity.

According to the head of the Mission, Daniele Bell, in almost every case, the respondents said that Russian military and officials tortured prisoners, including beatings and electric shocks, forcing them to stay in an uncomfortable position for a long time, threatening them with execution or imitating it. More than half of the prisoners have experienced sexual violence.

“The majority of prisoners of war also mention suffering from the inability to communicate with their families, as well as the lack of satisfactory food and medical care,” she adds.

The authors of the report note that these data confirm that the Russian army continues to use previously established practices of torture, abuse, deaths in captivity, incommunicado detention, enforced disappearances and appalling conditions of detention.

“In addition, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine documented credible reports of executions of at least 32 Ukrainian prisoners of war in 12 separate cases between December 2023 and February 2024, significantly more than in any previous period. The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has independently verified three of these cases,” the report says.

The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine also provides data on interviews with 44 Russian prisoners of war who, although not alleging torture in official places of detention, gave “testimony of torture and ill-treatment in places of temporary stay after evacuation from the battlefield”.

The Mission’s report also contains information about the Russian administration’s violence against residents of the occupied territories of Ukraine. This includes the killing of civilians, arbitrary detentions and restrictions on freedom of expression.

According to the UN, the total number of confirmed civilian casualties in Ukraine “[remains] comparable to the number of casualties in the previous period”.

Gwara’s choice

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57 bodies from the mass grave on the outskirts of Izium, Kharkiv region, have not been identified as of September 2023.

Up to 100 torture with 700 victims cases are being investigated in Kharkiv Oblast – Prosecutor General. Earlier, the National Police reported that they’ve discovered 28 torture chambers in Kharkiv oblast.