NewsTortured Ukrainian soldier's harrowing return from Russian captivity

Tortured Ukrainian soldier's harrowing return from Russian captivity

On the left: Oleksandr Hrycyuk. On the right: the remaining prisoners of war.
On the left: Oleksandr Hrycyuk. On the right: the remaining prisoners of war.
Images source: ©
Mateusz Czmiel

30 June 2024 12:23

The Russians captured Oleksandr Hrytsiuk from Kivertsi in Volyn in April 2022. In January 2024, his family was informed that his body had returned from captivity. "The head was entirely blue, the nose was to the side, and the index fingers had no nails. There were signs of torture all over the body," says Hrytsiuk's wife. The soldier "did not want to speak Russian."

Oleksandr was a powerful man. He weighed 17 stone and was in good physical condition. He was 180 cm tall. When his body returned from Russian captivity, he weighed only 8 stone. The Russians tortured him for several months.

"Because he did not want to speak Russian"

- The head was entirely "blue", the nose to the side, and the index fingers had no nails. There were signs of torture all over the body - the despondent wife of Oleksandr said, who had to identify the body of her beloved husband.

Fellow prisoners of the tortured soldier later told the woman that the Russians continuously beat Hrytsiuk either in the cell or when taking him outside, because he did not want to speak Russian.

It was from Russian websites that Hrytsiuk's wife learned that he was in captivity. On 10 April 2022, along with a group of soldiers, Oleksandr was captured near Novobakhmutivka in the Donetsk region in Ukraine. The wife received only one message from Oleksandr, allegedly written by Oleksandr in Russian.

Hello my wife. I am in captivity in the Russian Federation. I was injured. They are feeding and clothing me. Providing all necessary medical care. Awaiting exchange and quick return home.

At the beginning of January 2024, Oleksandr's wife received information from another prisoner that her husband had been molested. "And already on 24 January, an investigator from Kyiv called me and said that in December 2023, there was an exchange of bodies and they have the body of my husband," she admitted.

Prisoner exchange. Among the released were civilians

The last prisoner exchange between Kyiv and Moscow took place on 26 June. At that time, it occurred for the first time with the participation of representatives of the Russian ombudsman’s office, the Ukrainian Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets reported on Wednesday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky informed on Tuesday evening on Telegram that another prisoner exchange with the Russian Federation, carried out through the United Arab Emirates, led to the return of 90 citizens to their homeland.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Zelensky informed that among those exchanged were also ten civilians.

"We managed to bring back 10 more of our people from Russian captivity despite all difficulties," Zelensky wrote. He thanked everyone involved in this exchange, including representatives of the Vatican.

Among the released is Nariman Dzhelylal, the deputy head of the Crimean Tatar assembly (Mejlis), who was captured by the Russians in 2021, seven years after Russia annexed Crimea, and two Greek Catholic priests.

As reported by Reuters, citing Ukrainian media, five of the released civilians were held in Belarus, Russia's closest ally, which allowed Moscow to use its territory to attack Ukraine in 2022.

According to Ukrainian authorities, the release of civilians was part of the latest prisoner exchange; both sides handed over 90 people to the other. Reuters notes that Russia did not mention this exchange.

See also