Janus Putkonen, journalist, director and editor-in-chief of UMV-Lehti, an independent Finnish news agency, the largest alternative media in Finland, took part in the International Conference of the Foundation to Battle Injustice and the Patriot media Group “The Problem of Tortures and Its Undermining of the Criminal Justice Systems of the Modern Countries of the World. Searching for Solutions“, making a report on “Torture practices in Ukraine by the Security Service of Ukraine and other paramilitary units.”
Torture practices in Ukraine by the Security Service of Ukraine and other paramilitary
First of all, I want to share with you an experience from my first visit to Ukraine. When I came to Donbass in 2015, we visited a city of Uglegorsk. It was liberated from the Ukrainian troopers. Donbass troops found there very terrible scene. The city was taken by nationalist battalion. I was there a month a two after liberation. The city mayor took us to city hall, and he took us to the basement. It was a scene of terrible torture. There were visible signs of rapes. The local population, people of Donbass were taken there. Everybody was crying. Everybody understood what had happened there. Unfortunately, I don’t know if the troopers who caused this terrible accident, if they were killed in action or did they run away to Ukraine. The truth was found out by the liberators. The worst that we can see from The Second World War. It took years to rebuild the city of Uglegorsk. I think that the traumas are still there. There is a real need of international investigation of what happened in the darkest days of 2014 and 2015. Both commanders and financiers of those battalions, we need to get them to justice. When you first experience a scene of the most horrible crimes, you will be traumatized in a second. It was 6 years ago when I experienced this, but I think there was not a moment I can forget.
The second thing that I want to talk about now, when years have gone, we found a number of mass graves around Donbass. Thanks to support of Russian investigators joint operation has started to understand what happened to these people. I hope that finding out the truth will give the peace to people of Donbass because a number of people who have been buried in this mass graves, they need to be buried by their families. They are all victims of the Ukrainian aggression. Many of them died not of shells which were shot to their houses, but autopsies of these corpses have shown serious signs of violence. The process of healing of wounds of war is very long and very tough. But we all remember words of Petro Poroshenko when he declared Donbass people as terrorists, when he promised when Ukrainian children will go to school, our children will be in basements.
QUESTIONS FROM MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES:
Dina Karpitskaya, “Komsomolskaya Pravda”: I am sorry that I have to make you to recall this experience, especially since your reaction is so sincere. Anyway, what did you see there? We don’t need bloody details, but we need to understand what was happening there. Could you please give us some more information?
Janus Putkonen: The most of all I’ve seen fear. I’ve been years in the frontlines, and I’ve seen all kinds of fears that you can see in the war. Of course, it traumatized when you know these people. Of course, people have told their stories. And I’ve done my best to get their words to the world.
First of all I’ve seen hundreds of people living in different basements and shelters, people who lived without electricity, without gas or food. Of course, humanitarian aid was reaching them, but the situation was just horrible. When shellings were going on, and we went to report from shellings, then you see all terrible violence of war. You can’t even imagine it. You get there with ambulance and police and of course you see everything.
95% of cases where we went, we saw any soldiers, there was no military installations at all. Most elderly people and of course children, very young children and civilian population leaving their home that had been shelled.
You know, when you go to a shelled house which is totally exploded, it’s hard not to see bodies. Some of them go to ambulance with their legs broken out, but in some rooms and places there is just blood left. These are terrible scenes.
Ivan Melnikov: Janus, today’s conference topic is torture. You said you met people who were subjected to torture. Have you talked to them? What did they tell you?
Janus Putkonen: The violent details about rapes and techniques of raping of woman, it’s uncomfortable to speak. I did not specialize on this question.
Ivan Melnikov: Thank you. You are a very brave man. We understand that it’s hard for to talk about it.
Anastasia, “Federal News Agency”: Does the European Court of Human Rights pay enough attention to the problem of tortures in prisons?
Janus Putkonen: No. Even now when this corona restrictions are going on, there are horrible stories even from Finnish prisons. I think that the western power has used corona as a pretext so prisoners have very bad conditions already 2 years. The problem is that relatives of prisoners can not visit them. Message that is coming out has shown that European justice system has turned its’ back to prisoners.