(NEW YORK) — Russian forces are allegedly committing continuous war crimes in Ukraine, including rape and “widespread and systematic” torture, the latest Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine found.
The Russians are allegedly torturing people accused of being Ukrainian army informants in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, and in one case, the torture was so extreme that it caused a victim’s death, the commission said in its latest report to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday.
One torture survivor said, “Every time I answered that I didn’t know or didn’t remember something, they gave me electric shocks,” according to the commission.
“Well into the second year of the armed conflict, people in Ukraine have been continuing to cope with the loss and injury of loved ones, large-scale destruction, suffering and trauma as well as economic hardship that have resulted from it,” Eric Mose, chair of the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, wrote in the report. “Thousands have been killed and injured, and millions remain internally displaced or out of the country.”
In the Kherson region, members of the Russian forces allegedly sexually assaulted women as their relatives were forced to listen from nearby rooms, the commission said. Sexual assault victims ranged in age from 19 to 83.
The commission also found evidence of “unlawful attacks with explosive weapons,” including attacks on residential buildings, shops, a restaurant and a medical facility.
Konstantin Yefremov, a senior Russian army lieutenant who fled Russia, told ABC News in February he witnessed his country’s troops torture prisoners in Ukraine, including beating and threats to rape.
Yefremov, 33, spent three months as an officer in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region and said he personally witnessed the torture of Ukrainian prisoners during interrogations, including the shooting of one POW in the arms and legs and threats of rape.
The commission stressed “the need for accountability” for Russia’s “scale and gravity of violations,” as well as “the need for the Ukrainian authorities to expeditiously and thoroughly investigate the few cases of violations by its own forces.”
ABC News’ Patrick Reevell contributed to this report.
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