The first interview with a former Ukrainian hostage was published on Wednesday.
Hundreds of hostages are being held in dark basements throughout the east of Ukraine. Most of them have been kidnapped, with no charges made against them. Some of them are summarily shot, while others are returned to their loved ones in return for ransoms.
On Wednesday we published an interview with a Ukrainian writer, journalist and blogger, who was most likely kidnapped due to his participation in Ukrainian media. Today's story however, is even more bizarre as the hostage was very young and with limited media, or political activity. On this occasion, unsurprisingly, the interviewee has chosen to remain anonymous.
Q., Donetsk, student
Q. is a young Ukrainian student. He is not a pro-Ukrainian activist, but he did participate in several pro-Ukrainian meetings earlier this year, before the occupation of Donbas.
Fortunately, the armed DPR gunmen who captured Q. did not know about his pro-Ukrainian views. Mid-September, he was arrested for the violation of the curfew, and as almost every victim of kidnapping was accused of being a spy. During capture, near his home, he was hit on the face and stomach by drunken “guardians of the public order” armed with Kalashnikov guns. He was placed in a disciplinary cell in the cellar of one of the administrative buildings of Donetsk. Fortunately again, Q. managed to throw away his lighter with Ukrainian symbols on the way there, which probably saved his life. He joined other people who were detained on a few square meters for “disciplinary abuses”. There were 8 men in the cell where Q. spent four days.
Jailers took away his belongings. There was no ventilation in the prison cell, and all of them had to sit on a floor covered by a piece of cloth stained with blood and ichor. One day, jailers came to his prison cell and proposed him to shoot himself. They gave him a gun with one bullet and suggested that he pull the trigger and “use his chance for an easy death”.
Many of those sitting near Q. were gunmen, in particular two mercenaries from Russia. Q. guessed who they were from their discussions.
“They were Strelkov fighters. One of them was from the Moscow region, and he was telling about the military bases in Rostov, where there is a huge amount of guns for training and where workshops in different kinds of fighting, including sabotage, are held. He told how he had crossed the Ukrainian border illegally and got to Donetsk. Together with local mercenaries they were also discussing their salary. Russians get about 9 thousand hryvna, Ukrainians get 3 thousand.”
Q. mentioned that one of Russian mercenaries was very aggressive and possibly insane. He was provoking jailers all the time and got injured through his behavior.
“They beat him so heavily that I thought he would not survive. They even fired at him from traumatic weapons”, - Q. says.
According to Q.’s observation, one of the most widespread accusation is “aiding fascism”.
“Those who are found guilty are usually sentenced to chores or to digging trenches, or even shot.”
Q. recounts what he knows about the shootings.
“I know for sure about two marauders from among those who were sitting in my cell. They were sentenced to death and for a few days they waited for the execution of the sentence. One morning, the priest came, read the burial service, and then they were taken away and never came back. They have an awful attitude even toward their own people,” - says Q.
He hasn't met anyone from among the political prisoners or military prisoners. He believes they are kept in other buildings. After four days, the gunmen remembered Q. and decided to interrogate him. He was questioned by two young "DNR" investigators.
“They first had to check my social media accounts, and I was very afraid of that, since I had not hidden my pro-Ukrainian position on the Internet. You wouldn't believe, but they were too busy playing Counter-Strike. The interrogation started with the question “Do you realise your mistake?” I wrote a statement that I do understand my mistake and will never repeat it. I was not even required to mention what mistake I meant exactly.”
Most of all, Q. was astounded by the attitude of DNR gunmen towards their own people.
“I had no illusions, since I had lived in Donetsk and I had witnessed all the events of the occupation in my own eyes. But I did not expect that they would behave that way toward their own people. I cannot even imagine what they do with pro-Ukrainian people,”
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