Torture Rooms, Bodies Found in Recaptured Kharkiv Town, Ukraine Says

Investigators in the Kharkiv town of Balaklia, which was recaptured on September 8 from Russian forces, have found evidence of torture and the body of one person who died as a result of torture, the Ukrainian government said on September 14.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and local police, authorities found small rooms in Balaklia’s police station that had been holding 6 to 15 hostages, who were monitored via hidden cameras. People were forced to sleep on the floor and, during interrogations, tortured with electrical currents or through other methods, officials said.

The body of least one person confirmed to have died from torture was going to be exhumed for further examination, the MIA said. The exact number of detainees and victims was still being determined, they added.

Serhiy Bolvinov, the chief investigator for Kharkiv’s regional police, said Russian forces used rooms in the basement of the police station and in a building opposite the station as cells and held at least 40 people captive throughout their six-month occupation. The detainees were people Russian forces suspected of supporting Ukraine or having relatives in Ukraine’s armed forces, Bolvinov said.

This footage from journalist Sergio Olmos shows Bolvinov guiding members of the media through rooms where people were allegedly held and tortured, as well as officials zipping up a body bag containing human remains.

Police were also investigating reports that Russian forces fatally shot several residents of Balaklia as they left the city, Bolvinov added. Credit: Sergio Olmos via Storyful

Video transcript

- [INAUDIBLE] for the forensic expertise. And then they will find the reason of the death.

- [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

INTERPRETER: We registered the bullet holes in both of the bodies.

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INTERPRETER: The pre-trial investigation is ongoing and will be registered. And the conclusions will be made later.

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INTERPRETER: Thank you that you're helping to highlight the atrocities of the [INAUDIBLE], the Russians from all over the world.

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- Why were they torturing these people? What were they trying to learn?

- [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

- [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

- Guys, [INAUDIBLE]

- Get the light up.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

[INTERPOSING VOICES]