The Russians created a network of at least 20 torture chambers in the occupied territories of Ukraine which are part of a calculated Russian strategy to extinguish Ukrainian identity. This was the conclusion reached by Mobile Justice Team, a collective of international investigators supporting the Ukrainian authorities to investigate the war crimes committed by the Russian Federation.

As CNN reports, the investigation found that Russian forces followed a very specific blueprint in several occupied areas, with clear patterns that point to the overarching plan of Moscow’s occupation of Ukraine.

According to Wayne Jordash, head of the Mobile Justice Team, the occupiers project three stages of the annihilation of Ukrainian resistance.

“The first stage, essentially, is to detain and, in many instances, kill a category of people labeled as ‘leaders,’ i.e. those who could physically resist the occupation, but also those who could culturally resist it,” Jordash said.

torture chamber

According to him, the second stage is a sort of filtration process where the population that remains outside of the detention centers is subject to constant monitoring and filtration so that anyone who’s suspected of being involved with “leaders” or been involved with organizing any type of resistance is also then identified and either deported to Russia or detained in the detention centres and tortured.

The team found that those methods had been employed not just in Kherson but in other areas occupied by Russian forces, such as the Kyiv suburbs of Bucha and Borodianka. However, the lengthy occupation of Kherson allowed Russian forces to go even further.

“The third stage [is] the extinguishing of permanent identity. This can include removing the Ukrainian curriculum from schools, and confiscating objects considered to be pro-Ukrainian such as flags or t-shirts in the country’s colors. Essentially the population [is] locked down so that all traces of Ukrainian identity can be removed,” Jordash explained.

Investigators also said they discovered financial links connecting these detention centres to the Russian state.

“Those detention centres have financial links to the Russian state. Financial documents show that the civilian administration is being financed from Russia and the civilian administration is financing the detention centers, so you have very clear patterns and very clear links,” Jordash said.

He added that those were just the preliminary results of the investigation, explaining that more evidence of Russian war crimes is still being uncovered and processed.

CNN reached out to the Russian government for comment on the accusations put forward by Ukrainian and international investigators but has yet to hear back.

Bohdan Marusyak

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