DPR supporters released at the end of 2017 had been subjected to severe torture and had often been held together with criminal prisoners in penitentiary institutions. Today, at a press-centre of Donetsk News Agency, former captives shared their stories. Yevgeny Volkov – a former officer of Ukrainian Army. He is one of those who refused to participate in the punitive operation in Donbass. At the beginning of the conflict he tried to leave for Donetsk, but he was arrested at the approaches to the region.
“I was an eyewitness of Ukrainian aviation carrying out its so-called military task in 2014, which was to bomb cities and villages. As early as in 2014 I decided to give it up and tried to leave for Donetsk. Later, I was arrested in Zaporozhye, not without involvement of the Security Service of Ukraine,” said a former captive.
Yevgeny had a tough time in Ukrainian prison. As many other DPR supporters, the man shared cells with prisoners convicted of criminal offences. So, the former serviceman of the Armed Forces of Ukraine suffered beating and humiliation.
“I was threatened with reprisals against my family; I was beaten, put under strong psychological pressure. Some “special contingent” of people who could humiliate had been chosen for me and other captives. I’ve spent 1.5 year in remand prison. In 2016 I was sentenced to 12 years in prison and transferred to the colony of Drohobych (Lviv oblast of Ukraine – ed. DAN),” Volkov added.
Similar detention conditions were created by Ukrainian authorities for Andrey Dementiev from Odessa. For him, it is too hard to recall the days of detention in Ukrainian penitentiary institutions. The man avoids telling the details.
“That wasn’t much fun, I can tell you. I’m even scared to tell you about all those things that happened to me after the arrest, I don’t want to do any harm to your psyche, it is unpleasant even to remember. I was subjected to both psychological and physical pressure. It was terrible,” said the man.
Dementiev decided to join the Armed Forces of the DPR after the tragedy in Odessa of May 2, 2014. Having served for about a year, he decided to visit relatives in Moldavia, where he was detained and handed over to Ukrainian special services. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
A 70-year-old man Ivan Khachik, who had been detained for doing business on the DPR territory, also shared his story. According to the man, his old age saved him from physical abuse, but he was insulted and humiliated a lot. When he was detained, Ukrainian servicemen withdrew all his identity documents and took possession of his car.
“I was detained on June 11 of the last year. First, I was held in remand prison in Mariupol, and then they transferred me to Dnepropetrovsk. Prison is a terrible place. It’s impossible for ordinary people to stay there. I shared cells with prisoners convicted of criminal offences: drug addicts, robbers, murderers. It was unlawful. For all my life I have worked for the benefit of Ukraine. So, it comes out as if I am a criminal because I love Donbass and I live and work on this territory,” says the pensioner.
We remind, the exchange of prisoners between DPR, LPR and Ukraine transpired on December 27, 2017, and became one of the most large-scale ones since the beginning of the conflict in Donbass. It took place near a checkpoint outside Gorlovka. As a result, the Ukrainian side handed over 160 persons to Donetsk, and 57 persons returned back to Kiev from the DPR.