Ukrainian War: Russian “torture chambers”, “provocations” in Kherson, fears on the Russian-Ukrainian border

1. Ukraine discovers alleged Russian ‘torture chambers’ in Kharkiv region

Ukraine said on Sunday it found makeshift prisons used by Russian forces to “torture” Ukrainian troops.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said more than 10 “torture chambers” had been discovered in the Kharkiv region since the hasty withdrawal of Russian troops last week.

Euronews cannot independently verify this. Torture and inhuman treatment are war crimes under international law, and Russia has repeatedly denied committing such offenses in Ukraine.

The alleged prisons were discovered in the village of Kozacha Lopan, located less than two kilometers from the Russian border. The area was recently liberated by Ukrainian forces as part of their major counter-offensive in the northeast region of Kharkiv.

Reporters on the ground described one of the sites as a damp basement behind the local supermarket, with metal bars cordoning off one corner of the room to form a large cell. Dirty sleeping bags and quilts lay on polystyrene sheets to insulate from the damp earthen floor. In the corner, two black buckets served as toilets.

In a statement posted on Telegram, the Kharkiv region prosecutor’s office said the basement was used as a torture cell during the Russian occupation.

He said the Russian forces had set up a local police force that ran the prison, adding that documents confirming the operation of the police department and instruments of torture had been seized.

In his nightly address to the nation on Saturday, Zelenskyy said there was another location in Kozacha Lopan, where “a torture chamber and electric torture tools were found.”

An investigation by the Ukrainian authorities is ongoing.

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2. Russia likely to step up attacks on civilian targets: UK MoD

Britain’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) warned on Sunday that Russia should increase its attacks on civilian targets as it suffers battlefield defeats.

“Over the past seven days, Russia has increased its targeting of civilian infrastructure even where it likely sees no immediate military effect,” the Defense Ministry said in its daily intelligence briefing.

“As it faces setbacks on the front lines, Russia has likely expanded the locations it is prepared to strike with the aim of directly undermining the morale of the Ukrainian people and government,” he said. he adds.

The Defense Ministry said examples of the new Russian tactic were “strikes on the power grid and a dam on the Inhulets River in Kryvyu Rih” in Ukraine.

Last week, Ukraine accused Russia of hit the power plants in the east of the country, which she said were “revenge” for recent gains made by Ukrainian forces in the northeast.

The blackouts reportedly affected nine million people in Kharkiv and Donetsk.

Other Western defense analysts echoed the Defense Department’s claims.

The Institute for the Study of War, a US think tank, said Russian forces in Donetsk were carrying out “senseless operations” on Ukrainian villages instead of reinforcing the front line.

3. Armed group ‘eliminated’ in Kherson, Moscow-backed authorities say

Authorities in Russian-controlled Kherson said an armed group was destroyed in fighting in the center of the city.

The Ukrainian army is working to retake the southern Ukrainian town, which was seized by Russian forces in March, as part of a wider Kyiv counteroffensive.

“In the center of Kherson, there was a clash between units of the Russian army patrolling the streets of the city and an unidentified group,” the Moscow-backed administration said on Telegram on Saturday evening.

“After a brief fight, the attackers were eliminated,” he continued, adding that no Russian soldiers or civilians were injured.

A spokeswoman for the Ukrainian army’s Southern Command, Natalia Goumenyuk, said the incident was a “provocation”.

“Yesterday’s shooting and explosions in Kherson are a provocation by the occupier,” she told Ukrainian television on Sunday morning. “We warned that provocations were going to take place between September 17 and 20. They aim to tarnish the image of the Ukrainian armed forces.”

Russian media organization Vesti released a video purporting to show two armored vehicles surrounded by soldiers during the incident. In the footage, captured near Kherson railway station, tanks open fire with a machine gun, as more fire heads in.

On Sunday morning, a volunteer fighter from the Russian-backed authorities described the situation in Kherson as “calm”.

“The Nazis are trying to attack, but without success,” Kirill Stremousov said on Telegram.

4. Concerns in Russian border towns over Ukrainian advances

Russians living near the Ukrainian border are growing increasingly worried as Kyiv forces push on Russia’s doorstep, according to the Moscow Times.

“I would like to know how safe the residents of Shebekino are following recent events? We are afraid,” said Olga Podtyolkova, who lives in the town of Shebekino about five kilometers from a Russian border crossing with Ukraine.

“They are shooting within earshot,” Natalia Lyovina wrote on Russian social media site VKontakte. “Are we already bombed?” She lives in Valuyki, a village located about fifteen kilometers from Ukraine.

Valuyki and Shebekino are in the Russian region of Belgorod. Its southern edges became a de facto military line after Russian troops occupying the Kharkiv region were driven out earlier this month.

Despite an increase in cross-border attacks, Kyiv has not indicated that Ukrainian forces will advance into Russia.

According to Russian authorities, Russian border villages have been hit by Ukrainian shells in the past, which injured residents.

Military activity around the Ukrainian-Russian border has been sporadic since the start of the war, but has increased in recent weeks amid Ukraine’s major counteroffensive in the northeast Kharkiv region.

Ukrainian officials have generally neither confirmed nor denied their involvement in the border eruptions.

5. Zaporizhianuclear power plant reconnected to the grid

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been partially reconnected to the Ukrainian electricity grid, the IAEA announced on Saturday.

One of the plant’s four main power lines was repaired on Saturday and was once again supplying Zaporizhzhia with electricity, two weeks after it went out, according to the International Energy Agency.

The announcement comes after the site in southern Ukraine was taken offline in recent weeks, increasing the risk of an accident at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

The power line repair work means that Zaporizhzhia has “the necessary electricity to provide reactor cooling and other safety functions,” the UN body said in a statement.

While Zaporizhzhia’s six reactors were shut down, the plant still needed electricity to pump cooling water through their cores to avoid a potentially catastrophic meltdown.

It was still powered by emergency power lines, although these were not sustainable, according to Reuters, as they were at risk of being cut.

Zaporizhzhia was captured by Russian forces in March. He was repeatedly caught up in fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces, with each taking blame for the violence.

A team of IAEA experts visited Zaporizhzhia in early September. Two of its members remained there for permanent surveillance.

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