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UN report: Ukrainian prisoners of war tortured for months

According to a UN report, Ukrainian soldiers are being tortured for months in Russian captivity. The mistreatment is "appalling", systematic and widespread, the UN Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry into Ukraine reported in Geneva on Friday.

Prisoners of war were regularly severely beaten and tortured with electric shocks, sometimes to the genitals, it was said.

In its most recent report, the commission described the case of a man whose coccyx, collarbone and teeth were broken in captivity. He also told the UN experts that he was beaten so severely that he bled from his anus. In desperation, the man tried to commit suicide. Since his release, he has had to undergo 36 operations.

According to the report, prisoners of war are held for between 9 and 15 months in Russia and on Ukrainian territory. "The victims' accounts show that they are brutally and continuously subjected to severe pain and suffering for almost the entire period of their detention," it said. Prisoners also suffer from hunger and therefore eat worms, soap, paper and dog food in their distress.

According to the commission, torture by Russian army personnel and prison officers is a war crime. The report also described torture and sexual crimes against Ukrainian civilians. In one case, a 42-year-old pregnant woman and her son's 17-year-old girlfriend were raped by two Russian soldiers.

The Commission also deemed the ongoing shelling of civilian buildings and the killing of civilians in Ukraine by the Russian military to be a violation of international humanitarian law.

©Keystone/SDA

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