A Russian torture chamber where victims had their teeth yanked out with some buried alive has been uncovered in Ukraine, officials have said.
The grim discovery was made in the town of Pisky-Rad’kivs’ki in the north of Ukraine, around 15 miles to the east of the city of Izyum.
Images show a plastic bucket filled with dozens of gold teeth, caps and dentures that Ukrainian officials say were pulled from victims of the site.
Another shows a gas mask that was stuffed with a burning rag to force the wearer to inhale acrid smoke, while locals told how some victims were buried alive.
A bucket of gold fillings, caps and dentures that Ukrainian officials say were pulled from the victims of a Russian torture chamber is uncovered in Kharkiv oblast
A gas mask and burned rag was used to force people to inhale acrid smoke, Ukrainian officials say, while other victims were buried alive
It is just the latest example of Russian soldiers summarily torturing and executing civilians in occupied areas of the country, after the discovery of mass graves in Bucha, Irpin and Izyum.
Dozens of torture chambers – often set up in the basements of abandoned government buildings – have also been discovered.
In some, bodies were found with their hands tied ands bullet wounds in their knees or the back of the heads.
Survivors of such places describe being held for weeks on end and regularly tortured during interrogation sessions – electrocuted while being ordered to give up the names of locals affiliated with the military or government.
The newest torture site was revealed by Serhii Bolvinov, chief investigator in the Kharkiv region, where the town is located.
He wrote: ‘Neighbors constantly heard screams from here. Investigators found a terrible torture chamber in the village.
‘Police have been made aware of the torture of being buried alive and the use of a gas mask with a smoldering rag.
It is just the latest evidence of Russian troops detaining, torturing and killing civilians in occupied areas after this house of horrors was found in Izyum
Electric cables are pictured inside an evidence bag after forensic investigators suspected they were used to torture Ukrainian prisoners
A Ukrainian police officer examines a cell as the words of the Lord’s Prayer are written on the wall at the District Police Department used by Russian occupiers for torture in Balaklya, a town in the northeast of the Kharkiv region
‘A dildo and a box with torn dentures were also found in the torture chamber.’
The grim discovery was made as Ukraine liberates dozens of towns and villages in both the north and south from Russian forces.
Following a lightning offensive in Kharkiv last month that returned virtually the entire province to Ukrainian control, troops have been pushing the Russians out of the last areas they occupy – most of them east of the Oskil River.
On Tuesday, at least two towns were liberated as Ukrainian troops look to push further east, into neighbouring Luhansk oblast.
Pisky-Rad’kivs’ki is located in the same area, east of the Oskil.
Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away to the south, the Russian frontline suffered a partial collapse on Tuesday as Kyiv’s men raced forward 10 miles in a matter of hours.
President Zelensky said overnight that ‘dozens’ of towns and villages were liberated as social media was flooded with footage of flag-waving soldiers being greeted by grateful locals after Russian troops fled their positions.
Members of Ukrainian Emergency Service, police and experts lift a coffin from a grave at a mass burial site in Izium
The fresh atrocities echo those committed in Bucha and Irpin earlier in the war, when at least 458 civilians died under Russian occupation (pictured, a mass grave)
Gains in Kherson are significant because it was one of the four regions that Putin annexed last week – saying they would be part of Russia ‘forever’.
It is also where the bulk of his best fighting units are located – up to 30,000 men at one point, according to analysts – so defeat here would call into question the Russian army’s ability to hold any of the territory it now occupies.
Ukraine has been attacking the region since early August and, until this week, had made only small gains.
Their goal is to recapture the city of Kherson itself – the only regional capital to fall to Putin’s troops during the invasion – which would be a hammer-blow to his war effort.
Ukraine spent weeks before the battle severing bridges across the Dnipro River – which divides the city – to stop Russia being able to reinforce and resupply its soldiers on the west bank.
However, there are still thought to be some 5,000 men guarding it amid reports that Putin has given strict instructions that the city cannot be surrendered.