STORY: Alexander Glushko says he spent the last fortnight of the Russian occupation in Izium jailed by Russian soldiers in the dank ruins of a police station where he was tortured with electric wires.
“There I spent two weeks. There was no beating anymore. There was electric current. Electricity. Two clamps on the fingers, and they pressed the button. And I jumped high.”
Glushko is a former servicemen who fought for Kyiv against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine from 2018 to 2020.
He said he had been interrogated by Moscow's forces in Izium about the whereabouts of Ukrainian territorial defense personnel.
“I started giving them disinformation. “There, over there…” I did not provide details, but said: “Somewhere there, I saw something.” They went there, checked, came back and beat me up. In short, I ended up like a vegetable.”
Reuters was unable to independently verify certain aspects of Glushko's version of events including the specifics of his torture.
When Russian troops withdrew from the town on September 9 and 10, he said he wept with joy as he an other detainees were suddenly set free.
Glushko said he was also beaten during an earlier five-day stint in Russian captivity in May.
He said his hands and feet were tied behind his back throughout the five days in a torture position known as the "swallow".
He said he was given no food or water.
He was eventually released by his jailors and found by passers-by.
As a result of the May episode, Glushko can now only walk with difficulty using a cane.
The doctor who treated Glushko was unable to speak to Reuters because he was operating on a patient, according to a nurse.
The hospital could not be reached for further comment by phone or email as there is no telephone or internet coverage in Izium.
Asked about Glushko's account of torture, two neighbors, who did not give their names, said that he had been arrested twice and was in very bad physical condition when he was brought back by residents the first time.
Serhiy Bolvinov, the head of investigative police in the Kharkiv region, declined to comment on individual cases.
But said they have information about the torture of civilians and illegal detention in Izium.
The Russian Defense Ministry did not respond to Reuters' request for comment.
Russia has consistently denied its troops have committed war crimes since its troops invaded Ukraine in February.
On Monday, the Kremlin rejected allegations of such abuses in Kharkiv region, where Izium is located, as a "lie".