Electric shock, extortion and slave labor: How Russia ran a detention camp in occupied Ukraine

The Russian interrogators left behind some tools of their trade at the sprawling machine-parts plant in this recently liberated city a few miles from the Russian border.

In a building that served as a detention camp, there are two rubber truncheons that former inmates say were used to beat them on the back. There is a wooden pole that was used to hit them on the calves. And there is a high-voltage panel, decorated with the Z and the V markings of the Russian invasion, which delivered electric shocks to detainees. Replicas of Soviet World War II-era posters still hang above it.

“They beat us, they tormented us, they took us to the forest to shoot above our heads. And every day at 11 a.m., they brought me here for my electric sessions,” said Dmytro Zlenko, a 26-year-old former detainee, as he visited the former camp this week.

“When I was here,” he muttered, “I didn’t want to live anymore.”

Dmytro Zlenko stands next to the bed he slept on in his improvised cell.