The Russian army apparently maintains a network of illegal secret prisons for deserters. Relatives report inhumane conditions.
Indeed, they should not be used at the front, but the rights of newly organized troops are obviously of little interest to the Russian army. Men are sent as “cannon fodder” against Ukrainian positions, often without proper training and weaponry. And anyone who resists this treatment ends up in a dark basement dungeon with other resisters, as the independent Russian portal “Ostra” revealed.
In late October, “Ostra” reported on the mobilization of troops in occupied Donbas who were being held captive by their own commanders because they refused to fight. It has now been reported that the Russian army has set up a veritable network of basement prisons for its own soldiers in eastern Ukraine. “Astra” was able to locate 7 dungeons and 60 prisoners according to its own statement, but assumes that there are other prisoners. 43 soldiers are reportedly being held captive in the town of Zaitsev in the Luhansk region.
“They were sent there to kill”
“Astra” reconstructed the fate of men from conversations with relatives. His unit was reportedly sent to the hard-fought Swatov-Kreminna front in Luhansk on 20 October. There their commanders abandoned the men without food and water, without ammunition or means of communication. “They ate what they could find and drank from the pond,” reports the son of a male “Ostra”. “Nothing was sent to them, they were just sent there to die.”
Ukrainian artillery shelled the Russian positions extensively, killing and wounding many of them. On 28 October, the remaining members of the unit left on foot for Russian-held Sterbilsk, 60 km away. There the men boarded a bus that their relatives had hired to take them back to Russia.
“It destroys our men”
However, they were stopped at the Chertkovo border crossing in Russia and sent back to Sterbilsk in two cars with the inscription “Office of the Military Commander” on them, where they spent the night in a hangar without any supplies, writes “Ostra”. . On November 3, without further explanation, they were taken to Sajewe, where armed police officers fired warning shots and greeted them. “You have two options now,” one of the men’s sons quoted “Astra” as saying. “They go either to death or prison. It is the destruction of our men, not even by the enemy, but by our own officers!” The man has not heard from his father since November 3.
An “Ostra” report from another group of prisoners shows how men can behave from then on. According to relatives, there are 81 males. First they were locked in a basement in Perevalsk, near the regional capital Luhansk, and then taken to an unknown location. “Most of the illegally detained persons were tricked, threatened and taken under torture to the new conscientious objector camp, the location of which is unknown,” the portal reported on November 5, citing relatives.
“They are called traitors”
“My husband and 80 other people are in this basement,” the report quoted one of the man’s wives as saying. “They were beaten and rarely got anything to eat. They had to strip naked and hand over their mobile phones, but one of them somehow managed to keep his phone. They were supposed to be sent forward as cannon fodder, but they refused.” Several other relatives reported that the commander threatened the prisoners: “We will shoot you, throw you in a mass grave and tell your relatives that you are missing.”
The independent Russian portal “The Insider” also reports on secret prisons for refuseniks. 21 conscript soldiers were held in a basement in the village of Bazanya in Zaviton, Donetsk region, the portal wrote, citing the men’s wives and mothers. Despite repeated speeches by superiors, the men would refuse to deploy to the front. A prisoner’s wife says she has had no contact with her husband since November 4.
“They don’t get any toiletries and they’re being put in the first place no matter what anyone tells them,” the woman was quoted as saying by The Insider. “They have been accused of being traitors and threatened with execution. We have already contacted the authorities and complained, but there has been no response from the law enforcement agencies.”