Call Putin. The UN has revealed the methods of torturing the Russian army in Ukraine
Russia commits numerous war crimes in Ukraine, including the deliberate killing of non-combatants, torture and deportation of children. During the mistreatment of the captured Ukrainians, they were forced to “call Putin”, tortured with electric shocks and beaten for speaking Ukrainian and not knowing the lyrics of the Russian national anthem.
This is stated in the report of the Independent International Investigation Commission in Ukraine, based on almost 600 interviews, satellite photos, visits to graves and places of detention, a large number of documents:
The Russian authorities committed numerous violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in many regions of Ukraine, many of which amounted to war crimes… The Russian armed forces carried out explosive attacks in residential areas that were indiscriminate and disproportionate. The commission was amazed at the extent of the damage it saw during its travels.
The report describes in particular the abuses and torture used in the occupied territories in places where Ukrainians were detained. One of them was called “call Putin” or “call Lenin.” The victim was tortured with electric shocks using a Tapik military field telephone (TA-57) with wires attached to the feet, fingers or genitals. Prisoners were also hung from the ceiling with their hands tied (this was called the “parrot pose”), plastic bags and gas masks were placed over their heads, they were forced to strip naked and raped.
One of the men said he was beaten “as punishment for speaking Ukrainian” and for “not remembering the lyrics of the anthem of the Russian Federation.” According to one of the women, she lost consciousness several times during the beatings, but was brought back to her senses in order to continue to be taunted.
The commission identified numerous cases of rape, sexual and gender-based violence. “This is an important aspect of the torture practiced by the Russian authorities,” the report reads. Last fall, a UN special representative called rape part of Russia’s military strategy.
In October 2022, Russia launched a massive shelling of Ukraine using rockets and drones. Critical infrastructure facilities, including energy ones, were attacked. This was publicly stated by both Putin and the leaders of the Russian armed forces. According to the Ukrainian authorities, half of the country’s energy infrastructure was destroyed as a result of the shelling.
Waves of attacks on energy infrastructure “may amount to crimes against humanity”, the commission’s report states: “The destruction of energy infrastructure has left entire regions and millions of people temporarily without electricity and heating, especially in sub-zero temperatures.”
An independent international commission to investigate violations in Ukraine was established last spring by the UN Human Rights Council. Three members of the commission are independent international human rights experts and the Council funds its activities.
Commissions of Inquiry are the UN’s main tool for investigating cases of violence and violations of humanitarian law around the world.
War crimes include attacks on civilians and energy infrastructure, intentional killings, unlawful imprisonment, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence, and the illegal transportation and deportation of children.