A former top Russian Army boss has told how he saw first-hand the rape and torture of Ukrainians inside a prison.

Ex-Lieutenant Konstantin Yefremov is the highest-ranking official to have defected from Russian President Vladimir Putin's Army.

He fled to Mexico and is currently living there in hiding, while applying to the United States for political asylum.

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US-based news outlet ABC has, however, managed to track the 33-year-old down and interview him.

He said: “I want that what I saw, what I was witness to, becomes known to society, so that the truth is uncovered.

“I know that at home there only awaits me, in the best case, a lengthy prison term and, in the worst, they'll simply execute me.

“But to hide at home and wait for them to come for you, that's humiliating. and I can't be silent any longer.

“I don't want to be silent.”

Yefremov also detailed a very gruesome and specific case of torture of a Ukrainian prisoner of war who was subjected to a fake execution.

The prisoner was also the victim of threats of rape.

He said that the colonel in charge – who has not been named – would: “Pull down his trousers and say to the other soldiers 'bring a mop – now I'm going to put this mop into your rear. I'll video it and send it to your girlfriend.”

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He confirmed the prisoner was shot in the arm and leg – the latter bullet broke the bone, but was then beaten up again several days later after some healing had occurred.

About his own choices in the Army, he explained: “A Russian soldier has been put in the position that either he goes fight or he sits in prison.

“They've said to him 'go and kill or we'll jail you'.

"70% of the Russian armed forces don't believe in that (the Ukraine is full of Nazis).

“They understand that it's a pretext for invasion, a pretext for a crazy dictator to realize his ideas with their hands.

“A lie can't win.

“They are free people defending their land."

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