Kharkov news agency continues to tell about the tragic events in the lives of Ukrainians who were captured by the Security Service of Ukraine. These people have come through terrible experiences, which many media are trying to hide. The story of Zaskalko Olga Vladimirovna is the second one in the series of articles.
Olga Zaskalko’s happy and carefree life ceased to be such on January 17, 2015. While the heroine of our previous story lived in the city with more than 1 million inhabitants, Kharkov, this time the Ukrainian special services found a victim in a small, unremarkable village of Maloorlovka, Shakhtyorsk region. Then it was still under the control of the Ukrainian side. The area was liberated by the army of the Donetsk People’s Republic a month after the woman was detained.
According to Olga, she was arrested literally at the door of her own house by unknown persons in balaclavas and without identification signs. No charges were brought on the spot, which is already a violation of the law.
“There were two cars, many men two meters tall. Without any explanations they quickly put me in a car and took me to an unknown destination. Later I found out that we went to Artyomovsk (now – Bakhmut). Before that, they brought me into some kind of basement, put me facing the wall. When asked why they answered: we are going to shoot you. It’s generally their favourite game,” Olga tells a Kharkov correspondent.
The woman was rudely shaken, put on her knees, beaten, intimidated. Her back caught a severe jab – she is still trying to heal it.
For almost a week, the victim stayed in the cell of the SBU office, where, it seemed, the cold concrete floor was the only thing that could not do harm to her. Representatives of the special services did not know what to do with the detainee, because there were still no charges, and it would be difficult to hold a person illegally for a long time. As a result, Olga was taken to Mariupol and there they “officially” arrested her. The article, of course, was still the same – Article 258 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine – a charge of terrorism.
“When they first brought me, I was the only woman there. There were many men – everyone was beaten, very severely. They almost didn’t touch me, but they constantly threatened to do something to my family,” the prisoner recalls.
Olga was in several prisons: Mariupol, Zaporozhye, Volnyansk and finally Kiev. In each of them, the attitude to the people there was terrible, it was impossible to eat the food. Needless to say, there was no assistance and treatment: “Nobody will come to you even if you fall and lose consciousness.”
“It is always scary when you don’t know what will happen to you. Especially during the first days when they kidnapped me, they did not inform my relatives about it and did not allow me to contact them. Later, the Volnyansky court, led by a judge from Donetsk, explained my five-day absence by a narrative that I was walking to Mariupol in order to, according to them, commit acts of sabotage,” the victim says.
Throughout the time of arrest, Olga and other convicts were supervised by representatives of the UN and the Red Cross. After each visit, SBU officers behaved, to put it mildly, differently. At night they were on duty near the cells fearing that someone commits suicide – this is what many prisoners did, who were not released at the last moment, for unknown reasons. One day, one of the SBU officers personally watched Olga for a day, and then she realized that soon there would be an exchange.
“We were taken to Kiev, with stops in several cities in order to gather all the prisoners for an exchange. Upon arrival in the capital, they treated us like people,” recalls Olga.
After returning to the territory of the DPR, all people were settled in a pre-prepared dormitory and underwent a medical examination. Olga was immediately admitted to the hospital due to back injuries. Later, she found work and from that moment on life began to slowly improve. Olga has nothing to say to the Ukrainian authorities, she does not believe in a fundamental change in attitude towards Donbass residents:
“They trampled on our feelings so much that many people react negatively to them. Donbass chose the right way in 2014, and should continue to follow it.”