A torture chamber for children was discovered in Kherson. More than 23,000 prisoners were recruited for the Wagner mercenary group. Ukrainians can no longer log into Twitter. All information about the Ukraine war can be found in the news ticker.

Thursday, December 15, 6:02 a.m.: According to Ukrainian sources, a torture chamber for children has been found in the recently liberated city of Cherson. This indicates that children were also abused under the Russian occupation. “We found ten torture chambers in the Kherson region, four of them in the city of Kherson,” reports Dmytro Lubinets, the human rights commissioner of the Ukrainian parliament. A separate room was found in one of the chambers, in which children were held. “Even the occupiers called it that, a children’s cell,” says Lubinets. Unlike in the other cells, occupiers laid thin mats on the floor. “We documented that the children were not given water, they were only given water every other day. They got practically nothing to eat.”

12.40 p.m .: In another prisoner exchange with Russia, 64 Ukrainian soldiers were released. “We also managed to free a US citizen who was helping our people,” head of the presidential office in Kyiv Andriy Yermak wrote in the Telegram news service on Wednesday. According to the prisoner coordination staff, the American was arrested in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson for “participating in pro-Ukrainian meetings”. The soldiers fought in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Among them are officers and simple soldiers.

In addition, four bodies were returned, it said. According to information from Kyiv, more than 1,400 Ukrainian prisoners of war have already been exchanged.

9:21 a.m .: According to British secret services, disagreements about the type of Russian warfare in Ukraine should extend to the top level of the military. Recent comments by ex-Russian intelligence officer and former separatist leader Igor Girkin are a sign of the tense debate, the British Defense Ministry’s daily briefing said on Wednesday.

Girkin, who is held responsible, among other things, for the downing of a passenger plane over the Donbass, says he voluntarily spent two months in a battalion at the front in Ukraine, the British said. After that, he acknowledged a “crisis in strategic planning” in Moscow. He also mocked the Kremlin’s current focus on building defenses and questioned their usefulness.

8:28 a.m .: The “Wagner” mercenary group of Putin confidant Yevgeny Prigozhin is still recruiting numerous prison inmates for the war of aggression in Ukraine. The “Institute for the Study of War” reports that the mercenaries have already recruited more than 23,000 convicts for military service. Accordingly, the prisoners are said to have been used mainly as cannon fodder. In return, the mercenary soldiers were offered a six-month contract for 200,000 rubles (approx. 3,000 euros), privileges for relatives and a waiver of all penalties. A former Wagner soldier and prison inmate describes this in an interview with the Russian exile medium “Meduza”. In addition, the prisoners were promised that they would only be used behind the front lines. However, none of the promises were kept, reports the ex-soldier.

7:15 a.m .: In order to save freedom of expression, which Tesla boss Elon Musk supposedly saw at risk, he took over the short message service Twitter. However, a new development on Twitter speaks a different language. As of Tuesday evening, Twitter users from Ukraine could no longer log in or register with their cell phone number. Because: The company has stopped sending two-factor authentication codes to Ukrainian numbers, some media from Ukraine report.

But there is a fair amount of criticism from Kyiv. Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podoliak tweeted: “The topic of the ‘war in Ukraine’ has disappeared from Twitter trends. Tweets reporting Russian aggression will be radically restricted. Users are no longer allowed to register or log in with Ukrainian phone numbers.” He then directly denounces Elon Musk: “Elon Musk, I wonder if we’ll ever see Fall/Winter 2022 ‘Twitter Files’?”

Podoljak is alluding to a statement by Twitter boss Musk, who announced in early December that he would publish Twitter files from another case (Hunter Biden story). Between the lines it becomes apparent that Podoljak accuses Elon Musk of hidden censorship.

6:15 a.m .: Explosions occurred in the center of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv after a suspected drone attack. “Explosions in the Shevchenkivsky district of the capital. Rescue workers are on their way,” said Mayor Vitali Klitschko on Wednesday morning in an online service. Ukrainian air defenses shot down ten Iranian-made “Shahed drones” over Kyiv and the nearby region, he added.

As the city’s military administration announced, drone debris damaged two administrative buildings in the central part of the city. There were initially no reports of injuries.

You can read more news on the following pages.