Disturbing dungeons seemingly used by Russian soldiers to torture civilians have been found in liberated Kherson.
The Ukrainian government believes ‘local patriots’ who ‘refused to cooperate with the enemy’ were targeted.
‘Kherson residents were interrogated and brutally tortured,’ officials claimed.
‘Torture law enforcement officers found objects that directly indicate signs of torture.’
These include gas masks and bottles of liquid which are currently being analysed.
Wall markings paint a bleak picture with tallies appearing to show inmates counting the number of days they were held captive.
One person wrote: ‘Pray to God for us. God, give us strength. God, save and protect.’
There were also signs that Russian troops tried to clear away evidence before they fled Kherson.
The gruesome discovery was made after residents tipped off police and the Ukrainian secret service on patrol in the city.
Moscow has long been accused of committing war crimes while occupying Ukraine – allegations the Kremlin has denied.
Vladimir Putin suffered a humiliating defeat on Friday, when his fighters were forced to retreat from the only regional capital they had managed to capture.
Scenes of celebration were seen in Kherson with Volodymyr Zelensky calling the victory ‘the beginning of the end of the war’.
But the president has also acknowledged the heavy human toll the war had taken.
He said: ‘Investigators have already documented more than 400 Russian war crimes, and the bodies of both civilians and military personnel have been found.’
The United Nations found both Ukraine and Russia had tortured prisoners of war.
More than 100 prisoners of war on each side of the conflict have been interview by the Ukraine-based monitoring team since April.
They found the ‘vast majority’ of Ukrainian prisoners faced treatment including dog attacks, mock executions, electric shocks and sexual violence.
The UN went on to say they had heard ‘credible allegations’ of Ukrainian troops executing Russian prisoners without any trial.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more stories like this, check our news page.