Both Russia and Ukraine have tortured POWs, UN says

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The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) said on Tuesday that both Russia and Ukraine have tortured prisoners of war during the nearly nine-month conflict. For example, they spoke of the use of electric shocks and forced nudity. That writes Reuters.

The UN monitoring team in Ukraine based its findings on interviews with more than 100 prisoners of war on both sides of the conflict. The interviews with Ukrainian POWs were conducted after their release, as Russia did not allow access to the detention sites, the team said.

Matilda Bogner, head of the monitoring mission, told a press conference in Geneva that the “vast majority” of interviewed Ukrainian prisoners held by Russian forces spoke of torture and ill-treatment. She gave examples of attacks with dogs, electric shocks with tasers and military telephones, and sexual assault.

According to her, this was intended to intimidate and humiliate them. A man in a penal colony near Olenivka told the team that members of Russian-affiliated armed groups “attached wires to my genitals and nose and gave me shocks. They were just having fun and not interested in my answers to their questions.”

Russia, which invaded Ukraine on February 24, denies torture or other ill-treatment of prisoners of war. Kiev has previously said it will monitor all information on the treatment of POWs and investigate any violations and take appropriate legal action.

On the Ukrainian side, Bogner reported “credible allegations” of executions of Russian prisoners among other abuses. Other Russian prisoners reported poor and degrading transport conditions and being crammed into trucks or vans naked and with their hands tied behind their backs. The UN team also said it had documented cases of so-called “welcome beatings” in a penal colony.

Kiev has previously said it monitors all information on the treatment of POWs and will investigate any violations and take appropriate legal action.

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