Mattresses lie on the floor in a holding cell at the basement of a police station which was used by Russian forces in the recently liberated town of Izium, Ukraine, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. Based on accounts of survivors and police, Associated Press journalists located 10 torture sites in the town and gained access to five of them including the police station. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

VIDEO: 10 torture sites in 1 town: Russia sowed pain, fear in Izium

Russians occupied the Ukrainian city for 7 months, where they are believed to have tortured dozens

The first time the Russian soldiers caught him, they tossed him bound and blindfolded into a trench covered with wooden boards for days on end.

Then they beat him, over and over: Legs, arms, a hammer to the knees, all accompanied by furious diatribes against Ukraine. Before they let him go, they took away his passport and Ukrainian military ID — all he had to prove his existence — and made sure he knew exactly how worthless his life was.

“No one needs you,” the commander taunted. “We can shoot you any time, bury you a half-meter underground and that’s it.”

The brutal encounter at the end of March was just the start. Andriy Kotsar would be captured and tortured twice more by Russian forces in Izium, and the pain would be even worse.

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