Tortures and murders of political prisoners in Ukraine

Tortures and murders of political prisoners in Ukraine

Prisoner exchange with Kiev and DPR. AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOV

Originally appeared at Geopolitika, translated by Carpatho-Russian exclusively for SouthFront

In Ukraine the flywheel of political terror is has been started at full force. Now the authorities are trying to hold firm to naked violence on dissidents. Nobody is surprised by torture and executions in SBU torture chambers. Although the Ministry of Defense and the SBU disown torture of political prisoners and captured rebels, and cruel taunts at the civilian population of Donbass.

But even Ukrainian human rights activists talk in their reports about the fact that war crimes from the side of the Ukrainian military lead as a whole to degradation of the social and cultural relations in society. This was declared in particular by the chairman of the board of the Ukrainian Helsinki Union on Human Rights, Nikolay Kozyrev.

Those who have passed through the torture chambers of SBU and terr-battalions relate terrible details of what happened to them. Thre are dozens of such stories. But nobody is punished for these taunts and sufferings. The fact of torture by the authorities of Ukraine is not recognize. There are no criminal cases transferred to court.

Prisoners note they are beaten until bones break, tortured with electric current, beaten on their feet, threatened with knifes, suspended from the ceiling, deprived of sleep for several days, and threatened with mock execution.

Right Sector behaves especially brutally. Former captives of Right Sector describe a huge range of violations, among which are mock executions, capturing hostages, extortion, extremely cruel beatings, murder threats, and refusal to render emergency medical assistance.

Using a deserted Pioneers’ camp in the village of Velikomikhaylovk near Dnepropetrovsk as a prison, Right Sector has been reported as holding dozens of civilians captive as hostages, fleecing large sums of money from them and their families.

One of the Ukrainian voluntary battalions – “Azov” – has from the very beginning of the civil war won ill fame because of the pathological, inhuman cruelty of its fighters.

Likewise, a division of sadists robbing and torturing citizens of Ukraine that has been uncovered is the “Krivbass” battalion.

The mass media widely covered how in the Lugansk area, Ukrainian security officers had disarmed the “Tornado” voluntary battalion of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.

“Battalion commander Onishchenko has previously been judged five times. He created a criminal group in the city of Privolye in the location of stationing of a division and provoked his subordinates to execute especially serious crimes: imprisonment of some local inhabitants and their repeated brutal torture, in particular in a basement of the Privolye school where torture facilities were prepared”, reported the Chief Military Prosecutor of Ukraine Anatoly Matios.

Kharkov citizen Alexey Lukyanov, arrested by employees of SBU, testifies that near Slavyansk in the village of Evgenyevka, there is a staff and collateral filtration camp which generally holds inhabitants of Donbass considered to be suspicious. They are interrogated in this camp.

The majority of the victims of tortures are not rebels of the Donetsk or Lugansk National Republics, but are in the category of peaceful citizens. Participation in meetings against Euromaydan, participation in programs of Russian television, statement of one’s position on the Internet, participation in meetings in support of the DNR, participation in carrying out a referendum, and “presence of a phone number of a Russian journalist” can be the “reason” for the arrest and torture of citizens by the Ukrainian side.

Alexey Lukyanov was arrested in June, 2014 and brought to a SBU base disguised as a car wash, where some days there were interrogations, beatings, moral pressure, and humiliation. He was then set into a jeep and sent to the village of Evgenyevka near Slavyansk, where there was a staff and collateral filtration camp. In this filtration camp were two shelters which served as places of the temporary confinement, which are vehicles with small boxes of area approximately 16-20 sq. m. There I spent more than twenty days. People changed every day and new ones were added. On the average people were there for five to seven days. Beatings were regular, and they got me up at night, led me from this box, and took me away to the military for interrogation. You leave in handcuffs with a bag on your head. They set you on a chair, then questions are asked from different sides, and then they start to beat you on the head. Of course, the conditions in the filtration camp were simply a nightmare, because you sit all the time with a bag on the head or in a cellophane package, which was rolled up with adhesive tape around the eyes, and in handcuffs. Then handcuffs were not enough, and they began to tie the hands and fingers together with fasteners. Well of course, they were fastened very tightly. The worst thing is that filled this shelter with people to the limit 17-18 people sat in 20 square meters. You even cannot lay down, and this was for several days. When there were many people, they stopped leading people to the toilet, but put a bucket in a corner and all urinated in this bucket. People were still thrust into the pit. A pit five meters long was dug out and they drove everyone there – as it happened, all together, one by one. There some days they would sit in the pit, in the rain, up to their ankles in water. Then they transported me to the SBU isolation unit.

Ukrainian security officers have not had an aversion to torturing and mocking priests .

Archpriest Vladimir Maretsky was seized by Ukrainian members of punitive groups, and exposed to tortures. The death of the priest was even [falsely] reported.

The priest is in serious condition and he needs an urgent operation. Orthodox activists of Kharkov started a prayerful stand before the court building, and the story of what occurred to Father Vladimir became known to the press. As a result, after several months the priest was set free in an exchange.

A citizen of France, poet and playwright Yury Yurchenko, became a war correspondent in Novorossiya and was seized by the Ukrainian Donbass battalion.

He was beaten and maimed, then kept in an iron case, and there were periodically promises to shoot him. Yury was the witness of multiple cruel mockeries of other captives.

The scale and systematic nature of the application of torture in Ukraine makes it possible to state also that their use is an intentional policy authorized by the leadership of the country.

Evaluating the practice of the application of torture, Lilia Rodionova, representative of the Committee on Refugee and Prisoner of War Affairs (Donetsk), tells about those who are transferred by the Ukrainian side: “Practically all people come back with broken ribs, hands, feet, and with teeth pulled. Not a single one without a beating. They only begin to treat them at the time of an exchange.

The Ukrainian side provides for an exchange only those captives who are still in relatively satisfactory condition.

After numerous “screw-ups” with the captives, the curators from across the ocean probably advised the Ukrainian security officers to improve their qualifications and develop technologies for more “humane tortures”.

The Kharkov activist-antiMaydanite Alexander Petrunko participated in a civilian protest action and in January of 2015 was abducted by unknown persons and taken out to one of the underground prisons on the suburb of Kharkov. As the junta had nothing to accuse him of, it handed him over for interrogation to representatives of the so-called battalions. They applied the technology of “humane” tortures as used by Americans in Guantanamo: they were drowning him in a bucket with water and hit him with a stun gun, then in the same way they brought him out on the grounds, took him to a pit and threatened to murder him, and next day forced into him a bottle of vodka, took him out, and threw him into the snow. One may say that Petrunko still got off relatively lightly.

Other prisoners, both rebels and political prisoners, are still passing through these circles of hell. According to different data, there are more than 400 rebels and several thousand political prisoners from different regions of the former Ukraine in captivity. Exact figures are not disclosed, which is characteristic for states with a fascist dictatorship. International conventions and the rights of the captives are not being observed. Testimonies of the boys who escaped live from the paws of the fighters of the [pro-regime] national battalions in Mariupol draw a picture of terrible atrocities and crimes against humanity: some of our captured men were buried alive in the ground, others were beaten with bludgeons from the waist to their knees and their body turned into a continuous hematoma, and a third group had needles driven under under nails and then beaten with electric shocks. There were cases where people could not withstand the torture and cut their own life short voluntarily, making a choice between pain and death. How many people have perished as a result of tortures or beatings and are gone forever, remains under the “top secret” stamp.

In the regime’s arsenal are employed all resources, including punitive psychiatry. The head of the Kharkov regional youth public organization “Nadezhda Natsii”, Alexey Kornev, was detained in March, 2014 and delivered to the Kharkov psychiatric dispensary No. 3. After two months due to special preparations, an absolutely healthy person was turned into a “vegetable”. And it was only thanks to public social activists – antiMaydanites, who focused media exposure (including Russian) on this case that Alexey managed to be released from the psychiatric hospital. But the two months of imprisonment in the hospital were not without purpose. Alexey still feels consequences of that “treatment”, and all types of his memory have severely suffered.

Many political prisoners who are sitting in the Ukrainian pre-trial detention centers are in despair: for them the only hope to find freedom is to be exchanged for Ukrainian military personnel. But the exchange is sabotaged by the Ukrainian party.

But why does the junta now persistently refuse to exchange the political prisoners for captured VSUniks? Will the junta allow the existence of live witnesses of its crimes? Political prisoners are already dying in its torture chambers.

Meanwhile Kiev does not react in any way to protests against political prosecutions and human rights violations in Ukraine. In the pre-trial detention center of the city of Mariupol, which holds about 150 people accused of “separatism” and “state treason”, one of the political prisoners, Alexander Kovalenko, code name “Greek”, born 1954 died from tortures and beatings.

As a result of tortures conducted by SBU employees, citizen of Ukraine Alexander Agafonov died on November 14, 2014 in Izyum.

A young man whose son was just born, he died, but not in battle, and not under shelling. This citizen of Ukraine was killed by those who are obligated to observe the law and to protect people. Saying farewell to Alexander, his relatives screamed in horror and fainted.

Alexander died November 14. In the summer Alexander had taken his pregnant wife to Minsk, far away from the war. On November 11 he went to take them away. They returned. To Kharkov by train. Farther by car. The family was stopped by the Ukrainian security officers at a guard post in Izyum.

Yana remembers that day by the minute. The took her from the guard post with her nursing baby and her husband to the police station. Allegedly, to check documents. After three hours they told Yana that her husband was taken away by personnel of the SBU. She never saw him alive again. When they brought his body, it was all over with traces of beating and tortures.

But we have in general no information about many people, and they are simply missing. On the Internet is a site on which relatives provide announcements with information on missing persons.

Tatyana Bestayeva, Kharkov: “Children, I do not know to whom and where to write.

April 20, 2015. Today, around 17:30, in the Architect Beketov region my husband, Bestayev Anton Sergeyevich, born 1985, was kidnapped by unknown people. He was walking with a friend along the Academy of Municipal Economy as a car suddenly approached, presumably [ID number] ВАЗ2121, claret-colored. From somewhere came 5 people in masks and with weapons (machine gun, pistol, bludgeon). At first they stopped Anton’s friend, held him against the car hood, and put the machine gun to his head with the words: “Stop, or I’ll shoot!”. Anton was able to run forward as all five rushed after him after releasing his friend. Thanks to eyewitnesses it is known that after they detained him, he ran into the Academy of Municipal Economy, where they seized him, cut his brow, put him in an armlock and set him in the car, and took off in an unknown direction… They presented themselves to the security guard of the Academy as personnel of the Security Service, and they cursorily showed identification. We have two small children, and Anton is a model father and husband, a good friend and companion! Help find out any information on his location state of health, since the law enforcement agencies are simply cold to us!!! 0937689337 Tatyana (wife)”

Nastya Pochepko (Vodolazsky)


Many political prisoners need urgent medical care.

The 67-year-old coordinator of the Kharkov movement Southeast, Yury Apukhtin, was arrested in December, 2014. He was accused of public appeals to violent change of the constitutional system and seizure of government power. Besides, it is known that the unique thesis which was defended by Yury Mikhaylovich is – federalism. And this is merely a form of state system in which many countries, including also Western democracy, live quite safely.

Yury Mikhaylovich’s health has seriously cracked, and his retina is exfoliating in his eyes, but the junta does not make allowances for age and is continuing to hold this elderly person in custody on far-fetched charges.

Unfortunately, not all in Europe wish to hear about innocent victims in Ukraine. But you are an exception. And perhaps the tragedy which has occurred recently in Paris will sober them up and be a reminder that another’s grief is shared.

We sympathize with that misfortune which has occurred recently in Europe. Listen to us! Bear the truth about the situation in Ukraine to the European public, and this will help stop the monstrous Nazi terror in Ukraine.

We do not have at this time full information on the crimes of the current regime in the territory of Ukraine, many facts are attentively concealed from the public, and victims in torture chambers are not able to describe the entire terrible truth.

But it is important to remember that war crimes have no statute of limitations! And it is important to remember that there is nothing secret that will not become known.

Further circumstances will develop such that criminals shall all the same answer for their crimes.

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What about all of the evil-SAS agents in civilian clothing all over Ukraine and some even inside of Russia?
They have been picking out targets for a while now. Sizing up resistance forces, and putting together long term battle plans as well as compiling list of facilities to be sabotaged, and assassinations to take place.