The Russians are said to have tortured their victims here

In Balakliya, people have slowly started to take to the streets. They have experienced war and Russian occupation for six months. Many have lived in basements, but now they are out and breathing fresh air and feeling freedom.

But it is only when the residents finally meet and talk together that most people learn about the atrocities that took place during the occupation.

We meet Tatjana and Olekseiy, they are shocked by the news.

– They kept them captive. They kept them captive and tortured them, says Oleksei.

Tatjana and Olekseiy have ventured into the streets after the liberation of their city after more than half a year of war. Photo: Bent Skjærstad / TV 2

The two have recently been told that the Russians have used two places in the city as torture chambers.

– People say it was. We haven’t seen it ourselves, so we don’t know, says Tatjana.

Traveled in a hurry

Just down the street is one of the places that Ukrainian authorities say was used to interrogate people arrested by the Russians. There is a police station and a detention center inside the building.

Two to three people lived in narrow cells.  Food, drink and other things left behind show that leaving the prison was quick.  Photo: Simen Askjer / TV 2

Two to three people lived in narrow cells. Food, drink and other things left behind show that leaving the prison was quick. Photo: Simen Askjer / TV 2

We meet the policemen outside who say that there are people imprisoned here who were received by the Russians, several of them were tortured in the basement.

We see clear evidence that the Russians have been here and that they left the building in a hurry. Outside we find boxes full of ammunition and a gas mask. On top of the bag is a gas mask inside, we also see the name of the Russian soldier who forgot it.

Inside the building we find Russian cigarettes, cookies from the Russian combat ration and toilet paper from Russia.

Tortured in the basement

Inside one of the wings we find a corridor with chambers. We enter them and the date April 23, 2022 is written on the wall.

Next to it, “Our Father” is carved into the wall. The cells here are narrow, but it seems that two or three people have lived in each one. Policemen, soldiers and others who thought the Russians might have posed a threat were said to have been imprisoned here.

The policeman shows us to the basement of the building. It is pitch dark, the air is damp and smells of mold. The policeman, who does not want to be photographed, says that people were interrogated in this room. Many of them must have been tortured, he claims.

Ten torture chambers were found

Ihor Klymenko, head of the Ukrainian state police, says that Ukrainians have found ten places in the now-liberated areas that the Russians used as torture chambers.

The dates carved into the wall tell us that people sat in these cells during the time when the Russians controlled Balaklja.  Photo: Bent Skjærstad / TV 2

The dates carved into the wall tell us that people sat in these cells during the time when the Russians controlled Balaklja. Photo: Bent Skjærstad / TV 2

Two places are located in the city we are in, Balakliya. He does not say where the discoveries were made.

The investigation is in full swing. Crime technicians have, among other things, visited the prison that TV 2 is looking for. And documents are said to have been seized from several locations allegedly used as torture chambers.

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