• uk
  • Українці розповідають про пережите під час війни з росією

    Ukrainians talk about their experiences during the war with russia

    Events in Buchi

    Oleksandr Semenchenko: “They knew we had no information, but they kept beating us”

    Life under fire

    АвторAuthor: Inna Molchanova | Translation: Lisa Bolotova

    17 May 2022

    A 46-year-old resident of Bucha, Kyiv region, Alexander Semenchenko, had been hiding in a missile shelter along with other civilians until they were found by Russian soldiers. The occupiers killed and tortured Ukrainians despite the fact that people were unarmed and did not resist. The man said that he survived the beatings and saw everything with his own eyes. He buried bodies with traces of violence. He is currently in his hometown receiving medical treatment.

    The occupiers visited us three times in the shelter

    I believe it happened on March 2. I and about a hundred other people were hiding from rocket bombings and shelling in a shelter near the glass factory. We call it “glass” among the inhabitants of Bucha. There were children, women, elderly. The shelter was reliable, anti-missile, and had two airtight doors.

    When the ruscists entered the city, we were already hiding there. But they found us almost instantly. On the first day they broke the first door; the next day they knocked on the second. We realized that they would get to us in any case, so we decided to open it.

    The occupier’s military units visited us several times. The first soldiers of the Russian army who came to our shelter did not touch anyone. They gave us their transmitters and ordered us not to go out for a day or two. We were promised that we would be released after the purge.

    Bucha photo of the ruined yard

    Bucha photo of the ruined yard

    Two days later another detachment came to us. They also told me to stay there for a few days and not go out. More than 50 units of equipment and a lot of personnel of the occupier had already gathered on the streets while we were in the shelter. There were Buryats, Belarusians and Russians.

    A machine gun was raised to my head and shot next to the ear

    On the sixth day we were taken outside. Elderly people and women with children were released. 14 other guys and I were brought to their knees; their phones were confiscated. We were undressed and they started looking for tattoos with nationalist symbols (coats of arms, runes, etc.). They didn’t find anything.

    People who had photos of equipment or chats soldiers didn’t like were killed immediately. Someone was shot in the flank area and was told: “Now you won’t rush home”.

    Those who survived were beaten and interrogated: “Where is the territorial defense? Where do ATOshnyky (Ukrainian warriors that serve in the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) zone) live?” They knew we had no information, but they kept beating us. It was obvious that they just liked it. They enjoyed the process.

    The destroyed bridge in Bucha

    The destroyed bridge in Bucha

    After the beatings, a machine gun was raised to my head and shot next to the ear, and then I got hit on the head with a butt. Then we were released. Only six out of 15 men survived.  I couldn’t believe I did.

    People with traces of violence were buried

    Shortly afterwards we saw the first punitive detachments of Kadyrov. These are inhumans in general. For four days they were driving around and killing everyone they saw on the street. I watched them kill an old man who was just sitting on a bench.

    We have been burying someone every day. We put the bodies in the backhoe loader and dug graves, when they haven’t been looking, to transfer the dead there. Those who we managed to bury were shot in the back of the head, had their cheeks cut out, and had other traces of violence.

    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: Inna Molchanova | Translation: Lisa Bolotova

    Life under fire

      Розкажи свою історію

      Ваша історія — особлива. Нехай світ її почує!

        Tell your story

        Your story is special. Let the world hear her!