WARNING — DISTURBING CONTENT: As Ukraine continues to liberate Russian-held cities, more potential war crimes have been unearthed.
Following Russia's "pseudo-referendum" as Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky put it, and Moscow moving to annex four regions in the country, Ukrainian forces have reclaimed and liberated towns.
Zelensky said in just a week, a dozen towns had been liberated. Pisky-Radkivski, in Kharkiv, is one of them.
However, after pushing Russian forces out of Pisky-Radkivski, Ukrainian authorities made a chilling discovery.
Sergey Bolvinov, Kharkiv's chief of police, shared to social media three pictures of items reportedly left behind by the Russians.
Among the items found in the "torture chamber" were gold teeth pulled from victims, a gas mask and a dildo.
"Neighbours constantly heard screams from there. Investigators found a terrible torture chamber in the village," the translation of Bolvinov's tweet said.
"The police are well aware of the torture of being buried alive and the use of a gas mask with a smouldering rag."
He added that police know the names of the victims and an investigation is underway.
Сусіди постійно чули звідти крики. Слідчі знайшли жахливу катівню в с. Піски-Радківські.
Поліції точно відомо про катування закопування в землю заживо та застосування противогазу з тліючою тряпкою.
Також в катівні знайдені фалоімітатор, коробку з вирваними зубними протезами. pic.twitter.com/5HzR882rAf
— Сергій Болвінов (@serhii_bolvinov) October 4, 2022
In a more in-depth statement on Facebook, Bolvinov said statements have been made to police from locals, who tipped off authorities to a basement where prisoners were held.
It is not yet clear how many people were held captive by Russians.
Ukraine's Ministry of Defence questioned how many more instances of brutality will be unearthed, comparing what was found in Pisky-Radkivski to a "mini-Auschwitz".
Russia accused of war crimes throughout war
Throughout the war, Russian forces have been accused of war crimes. In Bucha, a city near the capital of Kyiv, mass graves were found and hundreds of people were found dead.
The world erupted in the wake of the discovery, with Ukraine and the West condemning Russia for the brutality shown. Ukrainian officials said there were civilians found without their legs tied up, riddled with bullet holes and their hands cut off.
Sergey Nikiforov, the spokesperson for Zelensky said it was clear the civilians were executed.
In September, mass graves were found close to Izium, a town also in the Kharkiv region.
At the time, Oleg Kotenko, an official with the Ukrainian ministry tasked with reintegrating occupied territories, said videos that Russian soldiers posted on social media indicated there were likely more than 17 bodies in the grave.
Later, 447 bodies were found at a mass grave site, at least 30 people had marks that indicated they had been tortured.
Putin formalises annexation
Russian President Vladimir Putin has formalised the annexation of four Ukrainian regions despite major battlefield reversals in recent days shrinking the amount of seized territory Moscow controls.
Russia has escalated its seven-month war with the annexation drive, a military mobilisation and warnings of a possible recourse to nuclear weapons to protect all of its territory.
Putin has now signed off on a law formally incorporating the four regions, representing about 18 per cent of Ukraine's territory, into Russia, the state-owned TASS news agency reported on Wednesday.
The Russian leader's signature was the final stage in the legislative process; the two chambers of Russia's parliament have already ratified the plan.
Kyiv and its Western allies say Russia's attempted annexation is an illegal land grab and will never be recognised, with Ukraine saying its army will recapture any territory occupied by Russian forces.
With Reuters and Associated Press
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