A former Russian army officer claims to have witnessed the torture of Ukrainian soldiers while stationed in southern Ukraine last year.
Konstantin Efremov told the BBC in an exclusive interview He was part of a Chechen demining unit in the months leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and was deployed in Crimea on February 24 last year.
Efremov, who fled Russia, later told the BBC that he was at an air base in the southern city of Melitopol, where Russian forces had captured Ukrainian soldiers.
“The Ukrainian was blindfolded. The colonel put a pistol to the prisoner’s forehead and said, ‘Count to three and shoot in the head.’ “He counted and then fired right in the side of his head. On both sides.”
The BBC shared an image of Yefremov’s military identity card and said it had the geolocated image taken while the former officer was deployed in Ukraine.
“Interrogation, this torture lasted about a week,” Efremov told the BBC. “Every day. At night. Sometimes twice a day.”
“During another interrogation, the colonel shot a prisoner in the arm and right leg. Below the knee, and in the bone. He will be dead from blood loss by morning. We put him in a Russian uniform and took him to the hospital. We told him, “Don’t tell me you’re a Ukrainian prisoner of war.