Ukraine volunteers detained by Russia recall horrors: ‘It was like a nightmare occur to life’
Two Ukraine volunteers who say they invested 3 weeks in Russian captivity are now opening up about their harrowing working experience, describing the beatings and ailments they allegedly endured as like a “nightmare come to existence”.
Volodymyr Khropun and Yulia Ivannikova-Katsemon had been operating for the Red Cross and serving to individuals flee villages alongside the entrance lines in northern Ukraine when they had been captured by the Russian army in March, according to Reuters. On April 9 – following paying time in Belarus and in detention centers in Russia – they ended up freed as portion of a prisoner swap.
“It was like a nightmare arrive to lifetime,” Khropun explained to Reuters, recalling how he and Ivannikova-Katsemon ended up held with around 40 other folks in an unheated home at a factory in Dymer, north of Kyiv, sharing a plastic pot for a rest room.
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“They arrested me, shut my eyes — as in, they pulled a hat in excess of my eyes, bound it on with scotch tape — and then wrapped my fingers in tape, like a terrorist,” he included.
Right after about a 7 days of surviving on 1 to two meals a working day – occasionally consisting only of army crackers – the pair mentioned they and about a dozen other folks were brought by military services truck to Belarus where by they underwent interrogations, Reuters experiences.
“The first phase was staying stripped naked, photographed, the noting of scars, I have a handful of. Then the pouring of drinking water [on me] and a beating,” Ivannikova-Katsemon told Reuters.
The volunteers say they just about every obtained files with their identification and facts that accused them of being “a human being who has shown opposition to the distinctive navy procedure.”
At 1 point immediately after being even further transferred to a detention heart in Russia, Ivannikova-Katsemon promises she was informed she would be sent to get the job done at a logging camp in Siberia.
Khropun explained that all through the interrogations in all 3 nations he was compelled to kneel for very long durations of time or was attacked on his knees and ribs. Other captives, he instructed Reuters, experienced their hair, beards and mustaches partially shaved off as an act of humiliation.
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The pair were being at last freed right after discovering they were being picked to be exchanged in a prisoner swap.
“There was always hope with God that I would return,” Ivannikova-Katsemon explained to Reuters. “The challenging matter was not getting equipped to tell family members and pals that I was alive and in captivity.”