UKRAINE has identified the Russian colonel who is alleged to have ordered troops to torture civilians for weeks and loot homes in occupied Kherson.
Ukraine's security service, the SBU, named Oleksandr Naumenko of the Rostov Guards Department as the alleged culprit.
The publication of the SBU report today uncovered that Naumenko has been in charge of Russian forces in Kherson since March.
"According to his orders, illegal detentions and torture of local residents, entry into their houses and possession of property are taking place," the report read.
Naumenko – whose call sign is Alfa, according to Ukrainian outlet ZN – was also behind the dispersing of peaceful anti-Russia rallies in the occupied territory.
It's understood he personally took part and ordered Russian troops to break up crowds using stun grenades and tear gas.
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The report also claims that under his instructions, Russian troops kidnapped two Ukrainians and tortured them for several weeks.
The soulless colonel has since been charged with committing war crimes by Ukrainian authorities.
Naumenko is the deputy head of Putin's prised Rosgvardia regiment, which protects the Kremlin and other government buildings across Russia.
It's understood the colonel gave orders to carry out illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens and allowed his troops to loot and steal.
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It comes as Putin appoints Mikhail Mizintsev, known as the Butcher of Mariupol, as Russia's deputy defence minister.
Former deputy and army general Dmitry Bulgakov, 68, was abruptly sacked and made into a scapegoat for a string of failings on the battlefield in Ukraine.
The notorious Mizintsev, 59, has been sanctioned by Britain for his role in the savage blitzkrieg bombardment of Ukrainian city of Mariupol in May.
His promotion – welcomed by pro-war hardliners in Moscow – is seen as signalling an uncompromising new strategy by Putin after repeated military reversals and humiliation in Ukraine.
Putin's goons in occupied Ukraine have been accused of committing war crimes and of killing civilians and burying them in mass graves.
Earlier this month, a site containing 440 bodies was found in a city liberated by Ukrainian forces in the north-east Kharviv region.
Chief Police Investigator Serhii Bolvinov said all the bodies at Izyum would be dug up and taken for forensic examination to gather evidence of suspected Russian war crimes.
He said the bodies had been individually buried at the makeshift site.
Mr Bolvinov said some victims had been shot dead, while others were killed by Russian artillery fire and airstrikes.
He described the grim discovery as a "crime against humanity".
The top police officer told Sky News: "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.
"We know that some were killed [shot dead], some died because of artillery fire, so-called mine explosion traumas. Some died because of airstrikes.
"Also we have information that a lot of bodies have not been not identified yet. So the reasons of death will be established during the investigations."
He added: "For me, it was especially shocking and horrific and this is a crime against humanity. It shouldn't be like this in a civilised world in 2022.
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"This is such a horrendous story and unpleasant from any angle. I am confident that the evil will definitely be punished."
Mr Bolvinov said his officers are also aware of a number of other mass graves in the area.
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