Putin accused of keeping Ukrainians in fridges before taking them to Russia

Vladimir Putin's forces have been accused of keeping Ukrainians in refrigerators before carting them off to Russia, according to a Ukraine human rights organisation.

Grim reports from officials in Ukraine say that troops abducted, threatened and deported civilians in the towns of Gostomel, Irpen and Bucha during their failed assault on Kyiv this year.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs now believes that dozens of deported civilians are being held in Russian jails, and are likely facing torture.

Numerous reports of kidnappings also remain unresolved, with some families still trying to find missing members nearly a month after Russians retreated from the area.

Some have been taken to Russia and Belarus under the guise of 'evacuation', where they are in fact placed in camps and not allowed to leave.

One witness to the alleged atrocities described being threatened with death and separated from his loved ones as he was forced into a terrifying interrogation.

The man, named Oleg, was placed under blindfold with close family near an airfield in Ukraine and had a gun held to his temple when his own son ran out to tell soldiers that he should not be killed.

His entire family was then transported in the armoured personnel carrier, while blindfolded, before being put into a disused refrigeration unit.

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Oleg told human rights organisation the Media Initiative for Human Rights (MIPL): "We were placed in non-functioning refrigerators in a dilapidated dining room. I thought we were all together, that my family was here too.

"But they were not in the cell with me. Only when the guys from the next cell were able to drill some holes, they said that Dima was there, nearby. And there was no information about his wife."

Some were simply "walking down the street or in the field", were at home, or were sitting in a shelter when they were detained, Oleg said.

He was then taken to Belarus where said that one of his cellmates, named only as Sergei, was killed by Russians during his imprisonment.

Russian troops are now concentrated in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine following heavy losses in the west.

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