TESTIMONIALS. War in Ukraine: “They put him alive in a coffin”, say the inhabitants of Druzhnya after the Russian occupation

How many abuses committed in Ukraine? The town of Boutcha in the northwest of kyiv has become the symbol of these war crimes: the bodies lying in the streets, the raped women, the mass graves. But the city is probably no exception: in Irpin, Borodyanka or even Druzhnya, locals report terrifying scenes.

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In the latter city, located about fifty kilometers from kyivthose who did not flee the fighting lived under Russian occupation for a month and five days, suffering daily violence and humiliation.

Despite his blue eyes which have lost none of their brilliance, Anatole, 23, suffered violence, which his bandaged hand still bears witness to. “This is how I was interrogated: they took me out into my yard, they made me kneel down, they asked me to put my hands up, and they shot my right hand. Then they put a black bag over my head, tied it with tape, bound my hands and put me on an armored car to take me to their base. Now I’m afraid of any noise, I’m still living under the pressure of the occupation“, he describes.

Anatole, 23, suffered violence in Druzhnya: arrested by Russian soldiers, he was interrogated and shot in his right hand, which is now bandaged.  (JEREMY TUIL / RADIO FRANCE)

A neighbor says that all the young people were stripped naked and forced to lie down in the cold earth and stay there for five hours, without raising their faces, on pain of being beaten. Nadiatcha’s son was subjected to a macabre staging.”He didn’t tell me much, but yes the Russians had put him in the coffin. As they had closed, he lost his breath and started banging on the lid. It is there, next to the church, there is the cabin of the ritual services and there, there were coffins inside. He replied that he knew nothing. They hit him, but he didn’t know anything“, she confides. It is necessary to understand, here, no information on the individual or individuals who would have given tactical elements to the Ukrainian army, because this is what the Russian soldiers were looking for, rummaging through the phones , then trampled, which Lahissa wants to show us. She saw her son and her husband being shot and suspects the use of chemical substances.

“We are not experts, but we concluded that the Russians used something forbidden on us.”

I’m no expert but I can prove they used something forbidden because we all had dry lips. The skin on our arms and hands cracked. The bald men had burns and pimples on their heads, and also festering sores on their ears.”she accuses.

According to Lahissa, a resident of Druzhnya, the Russian soldiers, who were looking for information, stomped on the mobile phones of some residents.  (JEREMY TUIL / RADIO FRANCE)

In front of Lahissa’s house, the road still bears the marks of Russian tank tracks. They continue to the forest where many men have been taken. Six did not return, assures Anatole.

War in Ukraine: the inhabitants of Druzhnya tell of the Russian occupation. Report by Faustine Calmel and Jérémy Tuil


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