The Russian President is purportedly backing groups in Ukraine that allegedly keep more than 200 people in basements, civil rights organisations have claimed. The eastern Ukrainian region has been locked in the so-called War in Donbass, a conflict that started in 2014.
Those being held in the facilities are purportedly subject to torture methods including electric shocks and surgical mutilations, as well as being hit with hammers.
Photographs seen by the Sun purportedly show the dark, empty facilities in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic where separatists groups carry out the abuse.
Justice for Peace in Donbas, a collective of 17 Ukrainian human rights bodies, circulated a photograph of “the Maniac”, one of the people allegedly mutilating prisoners.
Speaking to the Sun, the Kiev-based Centre for Civil Liberties (CCL), claimed there are currently 267 people, of which 226 are civilians, being held in the facilities but facing no counts.
But according to the news outlet, there is no evidence showing the Russian government is directly behind the torture chambers.
Two of the most infamous facilities are the “Batman Prison” in Luhansk and the “Isolation Prison” in Dontesk.
People in the region have labelled the “Isolation Prison” as the “The Place Where People Disappear”.
A spokeswoman for CCL told The Sun: “This is just the tip of the iceberg.
“Most people who have been suspected of disloyalty to the occupation authorities are prosecuted and sentenced for espionage, sabotage and treason. Their families often do not turn to the state authorities of Ukraine or human rights organisations.
“They are either intimidated or simply understand that there are no opportunities to evacuate a person to Ukraine. Even the International Committee of the Red Cross does not have access to the prisoners.
“Therefore, it must be said frankly that we do not know the scale of abductions, torture and illegal detention of people in the occupied territories.”
The report comes as tensions in Russia increase over Mr Putin’s treatment of Alexei Navalny, the leading opposition figure who was poisoned with Novichok last August in an attack believed to be organised by the Russian Government.
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Professor Anthony Glees, an expert on European Affairs, claimed the Russian President will be forced out of office as a consequence of the surging pressure from the Russian public.
Speaking to Julia Hartley-Brewer on talkRADIO, Prof Glees commented on Mr Navalny’s detainment over breaching the terms of his suspended sentence.
Ms Hartley-Brewer said: “He was always going to be imprisoned again there was no question that Putin was (not) going to allow him to walk around the streets and inspire protests.
“We’ve seen huge protests since his return to Russia over the weekend, more than 5,000 arrests around the country.