The horrors of a Russian torture chamber were discovered by Ukrainian forces in a liberated village in the eastern Kharkiv region.
Serhii Bolvinov, the chief police investigator for Kharkiv, said he has uncovered war crimes committed by the Russian army in an execution room in the basement of an abandoned house in the newly-liberated village of Piski-Radkivsky.
Mr Bolvinov and his team have the crucial task of investigating all suspected Russian war crimes in the villages, towns and cities that have been recaptured by Ukrainian troops.
He claimed residents were quick to tell Ukrainian police of the house Russian troops used to hold prisoners of war and villagers.
A search in the dilapidated house uncovered evidence of people being buried alive as a form of torture, a large box full of hundreds of loose dentures and gold teeth reportedly pulled from Ukrainian mouths.
Mr Bolvinov said on Facebook: “Neighbours could hear screams from there all the time. Investigators found a terrible execution in the village.
“At the moment, the police know about the torture of burying [people] into the ground alive and the use of a gas mask with a [smothering] rag.
“Also in the execution room were found a sex toy, a box of torn dentures, wires with ropes and a survey letter from one of the men.”
Watch: Ukraine official reveals 'Russian make-shift jail'
He added: “Investigators and prosecutors are working to establish all the facts that took place in this execution. Justice will find everyone guilty.”
The chief investigator Mr Bolvinov was one of the first to report the discovery of hundreds of mass graves in the city of Izyum, Kharviv last month.
The chief investigator said at the time: “I can say that there is one of the biggest burials in one liberated city, which contains more than 440 graves. Some 440 bodies were buried in one place.”
It came amid reports Russian troops had abandoned territory so rapidly that they left the bodies of their comrades in the streets.
A video showing the 35th marine brigade hoisting a Ukrainian flag above Davydiv Brid was posted by the country’s defence ministry. Several other nearby villages were recaptured.
President Vladimir Putin’s men have already been forced to retreat in Ukraine’s north-east and are now being pushed back in the south as well.
Despite the Kremlin’s apparent political bravado, the picture on the ground underscored the disarray of Putin’s attempts to absorb four Ukrainian regions into Russia, while war was still raging across all of them.
Speaking late Tuesday in his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Zelensky said dozens of settlements had been retaken “from the Russian pseudo-referendum this week alone” in the four annexed regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
In the Kherson region, he listed eight villages that Ukrainian forces reclaimed, “and this is far from a complete list. Our soldiers do not stop.”