Ukraine’s Occupied Territories: Shocking Information From Russian Guards

Status: 07/26/2022 06:51 am

When the war started, Vladislav Buriak wanted to flee to his father, a government official. But the Russians arrested him. After 90 days, the 16-year-old was released – and his fellow prisoners were reportedly tortured.

It’s a blurry video, but it shows the end of a sacrifice: a man in a shirt and protective clothing gets out of a car on an empty street somewhere in southeastern Ukraine. A car approaches, pulls up, the side doors open, and a pale, bespectacled, dark-haired boy steps out. His name is Vladislav Burjak, and the man in the protective suit is his father, Oleg. He hugs the 16-year-old.

The young man spent 90 days in Russian captivity. “I was a kitchen hand and had to clean the whole building – including the floors in the torture chambers – and there,” he says.

In early April, Vladislav Buriak wanted to flee Melitopol. After the start of the war, the city was already under Russian control. Restaurants, supermarkets and pharmacies are closing, food and medicine are becoming scarce, bandits are roaming the streets – so say the refugees.

Buryak went north to his father – Zaporizhia. He is the head of the district administration there, and may be the reason why his son was arrested when he tried to escape: “He is a valuable hostage. An exchange about a certain person is possible. As long as there is a question of this person. It is still clarified, they did not touch Vlad,” says father Oleg.

“A Bucket of Blood”

According to his statement, Russian soldiers saved the 16-year-old from physical violence, but not his fellow prisoners. Vladislav reports that he heard the torture and was sometimes able to speak briefly with other prisoners. The probes are about weapons and arsenals. Those who did not want to talk were severely tortured.

I am coming to this room. A man hangs from the ceiling by a wire, blood all over him. Next to it is a bucket full of blood. On the right a Russian soldier calmly writes a report as if nothing had happened.

The Russians interrogated and tortured prisoners every day, often for hours, Vladislav says. It is unclear how many people in the occupied territories of southern Ukraine suffer such abuse. Vladislav Burjak estimates that during his time at the police station alone, more than 100 prisoners were kicked, beaten with sticks and metal bars, and given electric shocks.

“There’s no way to protect yourself”

“There’s a special device they use to give you an electric shock. They connect wires and put something like a sewing needle under your fingernails and run the electricity,” says Vladislav Burjak.

Although his statements cannot be independently verified, they agree with the statements of other ex-prisoners and human rights organizations.

Sometimes Russian soldiers torture Ukrainians. Human rights organization Human Rights Watch has documented such cases. According to the regional administration, 415 civilians were abducted by Russian soldiers in the occupied territories of the Zaporizhia region. “There’s no way to protect yourself,” said Julia Korbunova of Human Rights Watch. “Arrests happen at random in a supermarket. You’re not violating curfew and you’re not participating in protests, you’re not in territorial defense — you can still be a target.”

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16-year-old Vladislav was lucky. He was replaced three months later. A difficult task because usually only soldiers are exchanged for soldiers. Long negotiations were required. Now he is with his father. But he says he could not get the screams of the tortured out of his head.

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