‘Disappearing’ Ukrainians in Russian prisons

The Buzynov brothers, their mother, and Mykyta’s fiancée left their house in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv after Russia invaded the nation in February 2022. They proceeded to the settlement of Mykhailo-Kotsiubynske, but Russian soldiers also showed up there in the early part of March. “Our mission is to free you from the rule of your government. “Putin is awesome,” the warriors cried out. Volodymyr claims that the Russian army searched the town, seized phones, and accused his family—all of whom refuted this accusation—of giving the Russian army’s position. The soldiers then staged what sounded like a fictitious execution, according to Volodymyr.


“After leading my brother Mykyta and the others behind some woods, they yelled, ‘Be ready!’ and had them line up against a wall. Attempt! Next, they grabbed Kateryna, Mykyta’s lover, and forced her to kneel beside him. They threatened to shoot her if my brother didn’t confess, pointing a weapon at her head. That was the last time Volodymyr claimed to have seen Mykyta. They let his girlfriend go, therefore it’s possible that he confessed to save her. They said to us, “He acknowledged everything.” He might spend up to 15 years behind bars.”


The Ukrainian government claims that 4,337 Ukrainians were being held captive in Russia as of November 2023. There were 763 civilians and the majority were military personnel. The Red Cross provides data to Ukrainian authorities, although there is no official record of their identities. The Red Cross finds it difficult to enter the locations in Russia where Ukrainians are detained, much less the occupied territory where unofficial detention centers may be found in hotel basements and abandoned buildings. Dmytro Lubinets, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Ukrainian Parliament, estimates that 25,000 citizens have gone missing overall, thus the number could be far higher.

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