Few people paid attention to the drab concrete building, tucked away on a quiet residential street, that had long housed unruly youths behind a high wall and a spool of barbed wire. But after Russian soldiers swept into Kherson in early March, the anonymous building quickly became infamous.
Black sedans with tinted windows and missing license plates arrived at all hours, disgorging Ukrainian detainees with bags over their heads. Screams began to escape the three-story structure, piercing the once-calm neighborhood, residents said.
Sometimes, the gates would open, and a detainee would be dumped on the street, physically and mentally broken. Other captives were sent to a larger prison, or never seen again. “If there is a hell on Earth, it was here,” said Serhiy, 48, who lives across the street and whom The Washington Post is only identifying by first name to protect him from retribution.
Days after Russian forces fled in retreat, surrendering the only regional capital Russia had managed to seize since the start of its invasion, the horrors that occurred in this stately 18th-century port city are just starting to come into focus. [Continue reading…]