KYIV: Ukrainian police and UN investigators said on Tuesday they were investigating alleged Russian abuses in Kherson for eight months of occupation of the key southern city, including torture sites, enforced disappearances and detentions.
The head of the monitoring mission of the UN human rights office in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner, denounced a “disastrous humanitarian situation” in the city.
From Kyiv, she said her teams were seeking to travel to Kherson to try to verify allegations of nearly 80 cases of enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions that have occurred in the region and “understand whether the scale is in fact greater than what we have already documented”.
Addressing a UN briefing in Geneva via video, Bogner said some former Ukrainian prisoners of war had recounted a series of physical abuse, “including being stabbed, shot with a stun gun, threatened with execution simulated, suspended by the hands or legs, and burned with cigarettes”.
The war continued elsewhere in Ukraine on Tuesday. The mayor of Kyiv said strikes on the Ukrainian capital hit two residential buildings and air defense units shot down other missiles.
Vitali Klitschko, said on his social media channel Telegram that medics and rescuers were dispatched to the sites of the attacks. The strikes followed the sirens of air raids in the capital and break what had been a period of relative calm since previous waves of drone and missile attacks several weeks ago.
The recapture of Kherson was one of Ukraine’s greatest successes during the nearly 9-month-long Russian invasion and dealt another blow to the Kremlin. But large parts of eastern and southern Ukraine remain under Russian control and fighting continues.
Ukrainian authorities on Tuesday reported another civilian death from Russian shelling in eastern Ukraine, adding to the heavy toll of the invasion of tens of thousands dead and injured.
The abuse reports came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday compared the recapture of Kherson to the Allied landings in France on D-Day in World War II, saying both were turning points on the road to eventual victory. .
Speaking via video link at a G20 summit in Indonesia, Zelenskyy said the liberation of Kherson after eight months of Russian occupation “recalls many battles of the past, which have become turning points in wars”.
“It’s like, for example, D-Day — the Allied landings in Normandy. It was not yet an end point in the fight against evil, but it already determined the whole further course of events. That’s exactly how we feel now,” he said.
The liberation of Kherson – the only provincial capital that Moscow had seized – sparked days of celebration in Ukraine and allowed families to be reunited for the first time in months. But as winter approaches, the city’s remaining 80,000 residents find themselves without heat, water or electricity, and short of food and medicine.
Still, US President Joe Biden called it a “meaningful victory” for Ukraine. Speaking on the sidelines of the G-20 summit, Biden added, “We will continue to give the people of Ukraine the ability to defend themselves.”
In his speech to the G-20, Zelenskyy called for the creation of a special tribunal to try Russian military and political figures for the crime of aggression against Ukraine, and the creation of an international mechanism to compensate Kyiv for wartime death and destruction.
Zelenskyy called the G-20 meeting a “G-19 summit”, adhering to the Kyiv line that Russia should be excluded from the grouping.
“Everywhere, when we liberate our land, we see one thing: Russia leaves behind torture chambers and mass burials. … How many mass graves are there in the territory that remains under Russian control? asked Zelensky insistently.
Ukrainian authorities say they find signs of atrocities in Kherson, as in other liberated areas. Ukraine’s national police chief Igor Klymenko said on Tuesday that authorities would begin investigating reports by residents of Kherson that Russian forces set up at least three suspected torture sites in now liberated parts of the wider Kherson region and that “our people may have been detained and tortured there”.
“Demining is currently underway. After that, I think today the investigative actions will start,” he told Ukrainian television.
UN investigators also want to visit the city to verify allegations of nearly 80 cases of enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions and “understand whether the scale is in fact greater than what we have already documented”, said the monitoring chief of the UN human rights office. mission in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner.
She warned of a “disastrous humanitarian situation” in Kherson.
Speaking via video from Kyiv, Bogner also provided an update on his office’s work on the treatment of prisoners of war. Some former Ukrainian POWs recounted a series of physical abuse, “including being stabbed, shot with a stun gun, threatened with mock execution, hung up by the hands or legs, and burned with cigarettes”, it said. she declared.
Some described electric shocks to their genitals or being pulled by a rope around them, she added.
Zelenskyy made a triumphant surprise visit to Kherson on Monday. He hailed the Russian withdrawal from the southern city as the “beginning of the end of the war”, but also acknowledged the heavy toll Ukrainian soldiers are paying in their strenuous efforts to repel invading Russian forces.



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