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Ukrainian investigators have discovered a "torture chamber" left behind by Vladimir Putin's Russian forces after they withdrew from Kherson.
Denis Monastyrsky, Ukraine's Minister of Internal Affairs, has said that 63 bodies showing clear signs of torture have been found so far in the liberated region.
Among the horrifying discoveries in the torture chamber – the most recent of many uncovered over the past few months – were gas masks and nail marks on the walls where inmates were counting their days in hell.
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The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said today (Thursday, November 17) that Putin's men kept residents in "inhumane conditions", but that "local patriots… refused to cooperate with the enemy".
"Kherson residents were interrogated and brutally tortured," the statement read.
"During the inspection, law enforcement officers found objects that directly indicate signs of torture.
"Currently, investigative and operational measures are being carried out to document all the crimes of the occupiers, identify the culprits and bring them to justice."
A message on a wall written by one detainee read: "Pray to God for us. God, give us strength. God, save and protect."
There was also evidence that Russian soldiers tried to clear away evidence of torture before their humiliating retreat from Kherson in the face of a major Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Detailing the horrors they left behind, Monastyrsky said: "11 places of imprisonment were discovered, four of which show signs of being torture chambers.
"But we must understand that the search has only just begun, so many more torture chambers and burial places will be discovered."
Anatoly Stotsky, 50, a member of Ukraine’s territorial defence force, has opened up about his horrific torture at the hands of Russian and pro-Russian forces in Kherson.
"I contemplated killing myself,” Stotsky told AFP. "But thinking about my family gave me the moral strength to endure it all."
He said he was arrested twice and held for weeks where he was tied up, beaten and electrocuted.
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"For the first five or six days they would beat me. At night they would not let me sleep. Every two hours they would come into my cell and force me to get up and say my name," he said.
"When I came home, I was completely blue, I was covered in bruises."
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