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Ukraine detains warden of concentration camp of Russian-occupied Donetsk

Denis Kulikovsky (photo via Stanislav Aseiev). Background: Russian-hybrid forces-run Izolyatsia illegal prison in Donetsk (photo via Telegram/traktorist_dn).
Ukraine detains warden of concentration camp of Russian-occupied Donetsk
Ukrainian law enforcers have detained Denis Kulikovsky, who was in charge of the illegal prison Izolyatsia for several years. The place described by its former prisoners as a concentration camp was established by Russian occupation forces back in 2014 on the premises of an art center in the regional capital city of Donetsk. The Security Service of Ukraine confirms that the former warden of the illegal prison was detained in Kyiv, although not naming him and providing no further details.
General view of former Donetsk art center Izolyatsia (“isolation” or “insolation”) situated on the premises of an old industrial area that was turned into a prison by Russian occupation forces back in 2014. Source: Telegram channel @traktorist_dn.

Kyiv-based former Donetsk journalist Stanislav Aseiev, who had spent 28 months behind bars in his Russian-occupied hometown for his pro-Ukrainian position, was first to report on Kulikovsky’s detainment:

“The main war criminal of Izolyatsia, Denis Kulikovsky, a.k.a. Palych, was detained in Kyiv. Now I can say that my life wasn’t in vain,” he wrote on his Facebook page on 9 November.

Later, NGO Media Initiative for Human Rights (MIPL) reported that its unnamed sources confirmed Kulikovsky’s detainment,

“On November 9, it’s became known that Denis Kulikovsky, nicknamed Palych, Hades, and Perviy, the warden of the infamous Izolyatsia prison in occupied Donetsk, had been detained in Kyiv. This was confirmed to MIPL by law enforcement sources, but no further information has been disclosed,” NGO’s Facebook post reads.

MIPL said that at the time of their reporting, the Donetsk Oblast Prosecutor’s Office, which is conducting proceedings in the Kulikovsky case on suspicion of violating the laws and customs of war, didn’t give comments on the detention of the suspect.

An “exercise yard” at Izolyatsia, Donetsk. Photo: Telegram/traktorist_dn

Finally, the press service of the Security Service of Ukraine confirmed the fact that it has taken into custody in Kyiv the head of the illegal prison Izolyatsia in the temporarily occupied territory of Donetsk Oblast. However, the agency didn’t name the suspect in its report,

“Currently, procedural actions defined by the legislation are being carried out against the former militant. In particular, those related to bringing him to the court for considering the measure of restraint for him, as well as obtaining additional information about his illegal activities,” the statement reads.

According to the SBU, the suspect organized the killings and torture of illegally detained Ukrainian citizens, and, moreover, took an active part in these crimes.

SBU’s photo of the detained “former DNR militant who used to run the illegal prison of Izolyatsia.”

MIPL says that it was the SBU that detained Kulikovsky in Kyiv, but the precautionary measure for him would “most likely” be decided by one of the Donetsk Oblast-based courts as the detention order for “Palych” was issued by the Mariupol Primorsky Court.

Torture chamber for Izolyatsia prisoners with a military field telephone electric generator used to electrocute them. Photo: Telegram/traktorist_dn

According to SBU, the agency’s counterintelligence unit exposed the suspect together with National Police investigators under the procedural guidance of the Donetsk Regional Prosecutor’s Office. The SBU says that the suspect has been charged with human trafficking, creation of a terrorist group or terrorist organization, creation of illegal paramilitary or armed formations, and violation of the laws and customs of war.

According to TSN, Kulikovsky is 36 years old and most of his relatives live in the government-controlled territory of Ukraine.

First public photos of Russian-run Donetsk concentration camp leaked online

Boss of Izolyatsia

Izolyatsia, an art center in Donetsk that was turned into a prison by Russian occupation forces back in 2014. The facility remains operating since then.

Izolyatsia is an illegal prison established back in June 2014 by the Russian occupation forces on the premises of the Art Center Izolyatsia, which was based at the facilities of a derelict factory of insulating materials in Donetsk. Among the Ukrainian hostages held in Izolyatsia were Ukrainian journalist Stanislav Aseiev and Prof. Ihor Kozlovskyi from Donetsk.

According to its former prisoners who were able to return to free Ukraine during several prisoner swaps, prison guards and management used to beat, stab, strangle, drown, electrocute, and rape the inmates in Izolyatsia. In 2015-2018, the Izolyatsia prison was run by Denis Kulikovsky, who also practiced such methods of psychological influence as burying alive and staging executions.

Before the war, Kulikovsky lived in the city of Kurakhovo, Donetsk Oblast, worked in a pre-trial detention facility. In 2014 he joined the Russian-hybrid forces.

NGO Media Initiative for Human Rights had interviewed many former DNR hostages, including the Izolyatsia prisoners. The organization says that it has dozens of testimonies about Kulikovsky’s crimes, and cites one of such accounts,

Prisoner cell at Izolyatsia, Donetsk. Photo: Telegram/traktorist_dn
“After dinner, Palych starts his drunk evening entertainment up to about 10:30 p.m.

“Together with the guards, or alone, Palych used to enter the cell and start humiliating, beating, insulting somebody right in front of everyone. He used to arrange ‘fistfights.’ He could force them to rape one another. And when he was taking someone from the cell to the corridor, where he tortured them until they were losing consciousness. Through the cell door, the detainee’s screams or groans could be heard from the corridor. Palych used to beat people brutally during torture.”

“On that evening, 17 January 2018. Palych got roaring drunk and was beating someone very hard in the corridor. Then he rushed into our cell and started shouting, ‘Are there any doctors here? Any medics in this cell? Who can treat a dying one?'”

Donetsk art center turned into concentration camp: former hostages share their memories

According to Kulikovsky’s ex-wife, he fled from the Russian-controlled part of Donetsk Oblast in 2019, allegedly to Russia, leaving his wife and son in the Donbas. Now, for a reason that is yet unknown, he emerged in the Ukrainian capital where the SBU has finally caught him.

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