Russian military defector exposes sick torture pits at Putins army bases

The Russian military has been torturing its own soldiers at bases as they prepared to fight in Ukraine, it has been claimed.

Dmitry Medvedev, Russian Security Council deputy chairman and former Russian President, visited two training grounds in Prudboy, Volgograd Oblast and Totsky, Orenburg Oblast earlier this year.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was also present for the visit at Prudboy, one of Russia’s best training grounds.

Soldiers at these bases told Russian outlet Vazhnyye Istorii and Conflict Intelligence Team that there are torture pits at the grounds.

Satellite imagery was also used to corroborate their claims.

One soldier, named Sergei, claimed that personnel there had their phones taken away from them. Anyone who protested this was thrown into a torture pit, he added.

He described being threatened with physical violence and told he would be thrown into the pit when he tried to file reports about what was happening.

The reports also say that Russian soldiers were caught drinking and subjected to the same treatment.

These men were later taken to the pits and beaten – and were kept there for several days, he added.

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Sergei says that one of his colleagues died in the pit, however, this claim could not be confirmed independently

In September 1998, Alexei Rybakov, 19, died at the same training ground. His body was delivered to his mother in a zinc coffin without her being informed of his death.

Another Russian military defector has claimed he also saw men being beaten while he was training at Totsky training ground this summer.

This soldier, named Viktor, added that he didn’t see the “pits” with his own eyes, but he heard similar stories of comrades being threatened with violence for violating the rules.

These claims come as Russia continues to wage its violent war against Ukraine.

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Numerous reports have outlined Russia’s torture tactics being used against Ukrainians since the invasion started in February 2022.

Maksym Blokhin, a war crimes military prosecutor in Kharkiv, spoke to the Guardian this week about evidence of war crimes he witnessed in Ukraine.

The 41-year-old said: “When the Russians left, we seized dozens of files and weapons from the facility.

“Throughout our investigation, we have seen how the invaders inflicted unspeakable suffering on detainees, using electrical cables, rubber objects, hammers, and guns.”

On Russian soldiers, he added: “Terrorising people was their specialty. One man told us how he was taken to a forest where the Russians showed him the bodies of two detainees executed. Then they shot near his ear and finally beat him.”

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