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Russian underground prisons found in recaptured Ukrainian villages

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By Mario Bowden  with EBU
Ukrainian soldiers prepare ammunition in the recently retaken Kupiansk in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022
Ukrainian soldiers prepare ammunition in the recently retaken Kupiansk in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022   -   Copyright  Kostiantyn Liberov/Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Ukrainian troops in the newly liberated areas of the Kharkiv region have discovered hidden Russian prison cells underground. One such discovery was found in the village of Shevchenkove. 

The cells are described as "cold and dark" – and the Ukrainian army continues to uncover these chambers. Ukraine's prosecutor's office members are now being deployed to investigate them in search of answers.

“We have found confirmed proof of torture taking place. Civilians were tortured here, as well as Russian deserters,” says  Roman Oleksandrovych, a Ukrainian public prosecutor. 

“What were they charged with?” the reporter asks. “They didn’t want to collaborate with the Russian Federation,” Oleksandrovych responds.

Missing people has been a common theme in Kharkiv

Neither the number nor the fate of those who were imprisoned in these underground cells is clear, but there were some locals whom no one ever saw again.

Constantin, a Shevchenkove resident says he saw a man driving toward Russian troops.

“He showed them a Ukrainian flag. They stopped him and fired shots in the air. They got into the car with him and drove off. We don’t know where he is now.”

The successful counteroffensive launched by the Ukrainian Army at the beginning of the month has shed light on what happened in the Kharkiv region while it was occupied by Russian troops. 

Evgeniy Maloletka/Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
A view of unidentified graves of civilians and Ukrainian soldiers in a cemetery, in the recently retaken area of Izium, Ukraine, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022Evgeniy Maloletka/Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

And not only underground prisons have been discovered. Ten days after finding hundreds of graves in a forest in Izium, the Ukrainian Army came across another alleged mass grave with more than 100 bodies in a town near the border with Russia.