Chilling photos surfaced on Sunday showing alleged ‘torture chambers’ used by Russian forces against Ukrainians – as the European Union chief called for a new investigation into war crimes against the Kremlin.
At least some of the disturbing snapshots were taken in a damp cinderblock basement serving as a makeshift prison for Russian forces behind a supermarket in the newly liberated village of Kozach Lopan in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, Ukrainian authorities said.
Dirty bedding can be seen strewn across the damp concrete floor amid broken pieces of styrofoam in some of the rooms with bars across them.
There are also two black buckets in a corner that apparently served as toilets, while empty cigarette butts and pumpkin seed shells are thrown on the floor.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his late night speech on Saturday that “more than 10 torture chambers have already been discovered in the liberated areas of the Kharkiv region, in various towns and villages.”
He also said that “a torture chamber and electric torture tools were discovered” at a train station in Kozach Lopan.
The alleged findings come as the European Union chief called for an investigation into war crimes at the recently discovered mass grave site which included the bodies of women and children in the liberated Ukrainian town of Izyum .
Ukrainian authorities have said there is evidence that many victims were tortured before they died.
“In the first pit, there is a civilian who has a rope around her neck. So we see the traces of torture,” Kharkiv regional prosecutor Olexander Ilyenkov told the BBC.
Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, tweeted that the hundreds of bodies just discovered in Izyum could amount to “unthinkable and heinous” war crimes.
“We stand for punishment of all war criminals, Lipavsky wrote. “In the 21st century, such attacks on the civilian population are unthinkable and heinous.
“We must not ignore it,” he said. “I call for the rapid implementation of a special international tribunal who will prosecute the crime of aggression.
So far, 59 bodies have been exhumed from graves in a forest on the outskirts of the town, which was occupied by Russian troops until a recent counteroffensive by Ukrainian forces recaptured the town at the far end east of the besieged country.
Izyum is about 100 miles from Kozach Lopan.
Zelensky said Russia should answer for its atrocities “both on the battlefield and in courtrooms.”
Ukraine has been ravaged by war since Russian strongman Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of the Eastern European nation in February.
The Russian military has suffered severe setbacks in recent weeks, with Ukrainian forces forcing Putin’s army to withdraw from some occupied areas, despite Russia pledging to retake much of the lost territory.
Allegations of atrocities committed by the Russian occupying forces have shocked the world.
In July, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague called for a “comprehensive strategy” to deal with alleged war crimes in Ukraine.