АвторAuthor: Lidia Bilyk | Translation: Mariia Orletska
26 July 2022
Andrii Ziborov is a worker at the Housing Management Office who was captured during the occupation of Bucha by the Russian soldiers. He witnessed tragic events which horrified the world. How the Russians occupiers conduct interrogation and what Russian field rations taste like – read below statements of an eyewitness
On the third of March, orcs came here with tanks. I saw our men from Territorial Defence Forces leaving while we decided to stay. I heard the Russian saying:“ Move to the right”. Then they started machine guns at us. Luckily they damaged a bus near us. We were running away as fast as possible. We rushed into the garden and some of us began burying our rifles.
When I came back home an acquaintance called me saying that she had been hiding in the basement with her daughter and mother for two days and asked to bring some food. The child was only 2 years old.
I put some food that I found at home in a packet and went off. I was stopped by the Russian soldiers. They got out of the car and said:“ Where are you going? What is inside your packet”. I answered that I was bringing some food to my friend and opened it to show them what was inside. They took it away and told me to come back into my house. When we came into the house they saw cartridges and walkie-talkies which were left by the Territorial Defense Forces when they stayed at my home. They, of course, started asking why they were there. I pretended that it was not my house and I had nothing to do with that.
Then they took away my phone and said:“tell me the password from your Facebook account”. I answered: “Sorry, boys, I am not into social media, I really don’t care about that.”
One of them put a gun to my head and said:“I am going to shoot you right in the head If you don’t tell me the password from your Facebook account.” I saw that the situation was getting worse and began shouting at him:“Buddy, what password, I don’t use social media, look at me, I am 48.” Right away another soldier came in and luckily called that soldier. When he was walking away he pointed out that I had to go with them. I was thinking that it was the end that they were going to torture me by cutting or so.
When I was captured I heard a shot and then saw my friend that was followed by the Russians soldiers. I thought:”Oh thank God, I won’t be sitting alone.” My friend was going right through gardens and when came closer I asked him why he decided to go there if he saw that those soldiers were not Ukrainians. He responded that he thought that they were our boys. In a nutshell, we two were forced to get on our knees. Vasia, my friend, had a bag with him, inside there was 3 thousand Gruvhnia, keys to a garage and other stuff, but that is not the point.
They put us in a basement, after 30 minutes they open doors and a fucking fat face came in. He cried: “What is the exchange rate now ?.” We said that we didn’t know. They gave us back the money as well as documents.
Later my father-in-law was brought in the basement, he was 70. I tried to tell them that he was old and had no phone and that there was no reason to take him. They said that was the way it was supposed to be.
We suffered a lot. For four days we had been captured, they didn’t disturb us and fed us with field rations. But they were all spoiled so drank only tea. The Russian soldiers gave us alcohol and I could boil water for tea. I was not alone in the basement, there were also 4 more people.
People from different parts of Bucha were taken captive. All men were put into basements so they couldn’t disseminate any information, give any coordinates or so.
The day the Russians soldiers invaded, they started wandering around the city fully drunk. One time I was asked how to drive to Irpin, but I said I didn’t know, even though I live here.
There was a small hole in the basement so I could see what was happening outside. Surprisingly, the occupiers were packing all working electronic appliances they had found in a garage.
On the last day when they were leaving, they told us that we could only leave the basement after 20 minutes as they drove off. When it got quiet, I went out. I was walking in the yard and noticed their army boots thrown everywhere. The occupiers changed their army boots for sneakers which they had found in houses. They also broke down people’s computers. I was not allowed to take back my phone, a soldier said that it was for “special purpose”.
However, there were a small quantity of those occupiers who after searching at the checkpoints gave phones back. For instance, my friend asked if he could take his phone back, they allowed. There were such soldiers that even were hiding together with us in a basement, particularly those who had recently joined the armed forces. But, there were also the Russian soldiers who were killing and torturing our people.
I also know that some men were striped so the occupiers could see if they had military tattoos. Thank God, I didn’t have to do that, I am all in blue color. My tattoos just remind me of musical and prison symbols. Although, I have one tattoo that depicts a fascist with a swastika, if they had seen it, I don’t know what would have happened. But I didn’t put it on for nothing, this tattoo means that I don’t agree with the regime.
Such good people were killed. And can you imagine, today they kill people, and tomorrow they turn around and leave. Someone was killed in the stadium, someone in the entrance. Such things were going for three weeks, almost a month. On April 17th, Bucha was released.
When the city was liberated, I hugged our people, especially those from Bucha, our district who serve in “Azov”. I heartily pounced on them and kissed.
Чому важливо поширити цю історію?
Якщо українці не розповідатимуть свій погляд на війну в Україні, світ поступово забуватиме про нас. Натомість цим обов’язково скористаються росіяни. Тому не даймо їм жодного шансу.
Why is it important to share this story?
If Ukrainians do not share their views on the war in Ukraine, the world will gradually forget about us. Instead, the Russians will definitely take advantage of this. So let's not give them a chance.
АвторAuthor: Lidia Bilyk | Translation: Mariia Orletska
“I secretly thought it would be better for a shell to hit us than I would go to an unknown place alone with my children and without my husband,” this is a story of a woman from Kyiv who is fleeing the war for the second time