The Russian army is carrying out torture, illegal detentions and enforced disappearances of civilians in areas under its control in war-torn southern Ukraine, the NGO Human Rights Watch accused on Friday.
"Russian forces have turned the occupied areas of southern Ukraine into an abyss of fear and savage anarchy," Yulia Gorbounova, Ukraine researcher at HRW, was quoted in a statement from the organization as saying.
Ms. Gorbounova denounced “the torture, inhuman treatment, as well as the arbitrary detention and sequestration of civilians” in the regions of Kherson and Zaporizhya, partially controlled by the Russian army, while urging the Russian authorities to “put an end to immediately to these abuses".
The NGO states that it has interviewed more than 70 Ukrainians having described more than 40 cases of abuse and documented the torture of three members of the Ukrainian territorial defense, who were taken as prisoners of war and two of whom died.
Kherson resident Aliona Lapchuk told AFP in June that her husband, a member of the Territorial Defence, disappeared in the city after being interrogated by Russian troops, before his body was found in early June. at the bottom of a river.
“Interviewees described being tortured, or witnessing torture, by prolonged beatings and, in some cases, electric shocks,” HRW said, also mentioning “wounds, including ribs and other broken bones and teeth, severe burns, concussions”.
The objective "seems to be to obtain information and instill fear so that people accept the occupation" Russian, added the NGO.
The Kherson region, which had more than a million inhabitants before the Russian invasion, was almost entirely occupied by Moscow soon after the start of the war launched on February 24.
That of Zaporijjia, located east of Kherson and whose population previously amounted to almost 1.7 million residents, is partially in the hands of troops from Moscow, who notably control the largest nuclear power plant in Europe located on this territory.