Prisoners in a hole in the forest. Residents of Dymer – for the torture of the Russian army

Through the village of Dymer in the north of the Kiev region passed the route along which the Russian forces moved after the invasion that started on February 24. The village, 30 km from the capital of Ukraine, was under occupation for more than a month. In addition to the ordinary Russian military, Dymer was controlled by fighters of the Russian Guard and Kadyrovtsy.

Officials of the Security Service of Ukraine, after the withdrawal of the Russian military, discovered a place where at least 13 people were illegally detained. This is a hole dug right in the middle of the forest. In this, imprisoned citizens spent two days with their hands tied. This happened in late March – the last days of the stay of Russian troops in the Kiev region, which retreated from this territory after successful attacks by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Radio Liberty reporters managed to talk to two Dymer residents, who were first beaten and humiliated and then put in a hole in the forest. About what they managed to survive – in this report.

“As I was walking down the street. The gates of one of the houses were ajar. A Buryat looked out,” said Dymer Mikhail Kushnir, a 73-year-old resident of the village. I liked that I looked back and looked at their Ural car, which was parked in one of the yards, and one of them said to me, “What are you looking at? You have to be an observer.”

In the yard where the equipment was, you can still see the traces of the equipment and the carpet with which it was covered.

In the yard where the equipment was, you can still see its traces

“One of them pushed me into this house, through a gate, he said, ‘Take off your clothes.’ I undressed. He said, ‘Kneel down. lower face.- He gritted his teeth.And his jaw was badly injured.

Mikhail Kushnir points to the spot on his face where he was hit by the Russian army

Mikhail Kushnir points to the spot on his face where he was hit by the Russian army

Mikhail Kushnir said he was held hostage in this house for a day and a half.

On the second day, he and other residents of the area got into a car from the Russian army and drove it in an unknown direction. It turns out that the prisoners were then taken to the Dymer Forest Office.

“In the beginning they put us in a dugout in the forest. We also sat there for a day. They put Russians there and listened to who was saying what. The next day we were already in the pit,” says Michael. “In the beginning, there were eight people in the pit. Then they brought four more, if I remember correctly. No one gave them food or drink. They were not allowed to go to the toilet: make a hole for yourself – and that’s it. “

The dugout where people were kept

The dugout where people were kept
Mikhail Kushnir looks at the pit where he and other prisoners were being held

Mikhail Kushnir looks at the pit where he and other prisoners were being held

The Russian army, he said, tried to talk to the prisoners. “When they drank, they went out and started talking like, ‘We came here to Ukraine to change government,'” Michael recalls.

When Mikhail Kushnir came to this place with reporters, a man with crutches approached, with his foot in plaster. It turned out to be 44-year-old Oleg Chernenko, who worked as a driver in the medical service. He also survived the torture of the Russian army. Along with Michael and his brother Oleg, he was also illegally detained in the forest. When asked about the treatment of the detainees, he replied: “They abandoned it, that’s all.”

Oleg Chernenko

Oleg Chernenko

“My neighbor told me that his brother was an observer. First they came to me and asked me, ‘Where is my brother?’ there, they took him and brought him to me. “Then they took me,” Oleg recalls. “First, he took us somewhere in the field. They beat us well. They made me swallow a golden cross.

According to Oleg, the Russian army beat his brother “with his ax in the leg”. And they hit him in the leg, but with the butt. He now has an open fracture. Both brothers were transported from the field to the forest.

During the conversation, Oleg Chernenko draws attention to an object on the ground that looks like a plaster bandage, which is applied to injuries to the limbs. “This is a splint. Brother. They put it on him,” he says.

Longette, which was worn on the leg of Oleg's brother

Longette, which was worn on the leg of Oleg’s brother

Mikhail Kushnir, Oleg Chernenko and other detainees were dragged out of the pit by the Russian army the next day and forced to move to another detention facility – this time to a nearby house. Oleg’s brother remained in the pit.

“They pushed me out because I could not stand up and my brother was left in the pit. They let me go because I have a small child,” Oleg explained. “I can not even imagine what happened to my brother. Then they said that some will go home and some will be transferred to Gostomel. And then I do not know.”

Together, Michael and Oleg walk through the woods and approach the reported house, showing Radio Liberty reporters their last place of detention. Oleg was kept in one room, Michael in another, with his hands tied.

The house where Michael and Oleg were kept

The house where Michael and Oleg were kept

“They brought me here and said: ‘Everything is mined, so sit here, do not go out until morning. And then, they say, in the morning we will come and clear the mines,'” says Oleg.

“But these are the bonds with which they tied their hands,” says Michael. “We took them out ourselves here and threw them away.”

Ties with which the hands of the prisoners were tied

Ties with which the hands of the prisoners were tied

After a while, the prisoners realized that the Russian army would not return. In the evening, they heard how the Russian equipment left for several hours in a row. In late March, the Russian army left the territory of the Kiev region.

“And in the morning we already left. I wanted to go home to my relatives as soon as possible,” smiles Michael Kouchner for the first time throughout the conversation. A new life has begun. We came home and we were there happily greeted. This is!”

The SBU Department in Kyiv and the Kiev region is investigating the conditions of illegal detention of residents of Dymer village under the article “Violation of the laws and customs of war.”

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