Vladislav Buryak was held hostage by Russian soldiers for 90 days. The 16-year-old Ukrainian describes horrific scenes he had to experience in captivity. He was forced to clean blood from the floor of the torture room.
Vladislav Buryak was separated from his family at a checkpoint on April 8 while trying to flee the Ukrainian city of Melitopol. The 16-year-old was taken prisoner by the Russians and taken to a place that served as a prison. The Ukrainian told the Guardian about the horrific scenes he had to experience in captivity.
“They made me work to wash the floor of the room they used for interrogations, clean the officers’ rooms and take out the garbage,” said Vladislav Buryak. The cell in which he was held was only a few meters from where they were conducting the interrogations.
“I could hear people screaming. As I cleaned the room, I could see bloodstains. Because I could move while cleaning the cells, I sometimes had the opportunity to see what had happened to people. They could sometimes talk to me for a minute or so when the guards weren’t looking,” the 16-year-old said.
Vladislav also described the room where the interrogations took place: “There was a metal table and two chairs. One was for the person to be interviewed and the other for the person taking notes. There were bloodstains and sodden bandages. I could also hear the survey, at least three times a week. People were beaten up and tortured with electric shocks. If someone didn’t say anything, the torture sometimes lasted for several hours.”
He then saw people whose faces were covered in bruises, the boy continued. “I was really scared they were going to beat me up too, so I tried to keep myself emotionless. No one ever told me why they kept me, but I suspected they wanted to trade me.”
While Vladislav was being held, his father Oleg, a local Ukrainian official, negotiated with the Russians to secure his son’s release. After being held hostage for 90 days, Vladislav was exchanged for someone else who was of more interest to the Russian military than he was.
The Vladislav Buryak case is one of about 500 cases of civilian hostages whose information was collected by the Center for Civil Liberties in Ukraine, according to the report.
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