Ex-Russian officer apologizes for violence against Ukrainian soldiers

In an interview, a Russian ex-soldier reports on the horrors experienced by Ukrainian prisoners of war in Russia. He claims to have witnessed many torture interrogations.

Konstantin Yefremov, a former Russian officer, spoke to the British BBC about the severe torture and ill-treatment of Ukrainian prisoners by comrades and apologized to the Ukrainian people. “I apologize to the entire Ukrainian nation for coming to their homeland as an uninvited guest with a gun in my hand.”

By his own account, Yefremov was a lieutenant in the Russian army and stationed in Ukraine shortly after the war of aggression began last year. He later resigned from the army and left Russia. In the BBC interview, he reported, among other things, on an interrogation in which a prisoner of war was shot in the arms and legs.

Efremov then claims to have turned to the commanders and said that the injured man had to go to the hospital or he would bleed to death before the next morning. The injured man is said to have been put in a Russian uniform and taken to the hospital. He was warned not to say he was a Ukrainian prisoner. Doctors would then refuse his treatment or injured, Russian soldiers would kill him for it.

mock executions and genital mutilation

In another case, shots were reported to have been fired close to a prisoner’s head during mock executions after he was told he would be shot in the head. The colonel is said to have shouted at the prisoner, but Yefremov said: “He can’t hear you. You made him deaf.” Another man was threatened with mutilating his private parts. “I can’t forgive myself, so I can’t expect them to forgive me either,” Yefremov said.

The BBC checked the information provided by the man about his time in Ukraine, including documents and photos that he submitted, and considers the report to be credible. There is torture and ill-treatment on both sides in the Ukraine war, said the head of a United Nations monitoring team in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner. The conditions are particularly bad in the areas of Ukraine occupied by Russia or in Russia itself.

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