A 26-year-old Ukrainian woman described being tortured with electric shocks and hammers while held in Russian captivity for 6 months: ‘They treated us like animals’

Share this post
Listen to this article
Women walk towards their relatives as part of all-female prisoner swap with Russia on October 17, 2022 in Ukraine.
Women walk towards their relatives as part of all-female prisoner swap with Russia on October 17, 2022 in Ukraine.

  • A woman identified as Hanna O. said women in Russian captivity were treated like animals.
  • The 26-year-old was part of a prisoner exchange last week that saw 108 Ukrainian women released.
  • Her story adds to the firsthand accounts describing torture by Russian forces.

A Ukrainian soldier who returned home last week after a large prisoner swap described the torture she and other women received at the hands of Russian forces during her six months in captivity.

Identified only as Hanna O. to protect family located in Russian-occupied territory, she told the Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform about her experiences with tears in her eyes: “They treated us like animals. I’ll tell you more: even animals don’t behave like that.”

Hanna, 26, was one of 108 women, including 12 civilians, who were released from Russian captivity on Monday in one of the largest swaps of the war. Andriy Yermak, head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office, said it was the first all-female prisoner exchange since the war began in February.

Hanna was taken captive while serving in Mariupol as part of Ukraine’s 36th Marine Brigade, Ukrinform reported. She was among the Ukrainian service members who surrendered in May after being trapped in the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol for weeks as Russian forces surrounded and bombed it. She spent the next six months in captivity.

“They beat the girls, they tortured the girls with electric current, beat them with hammers, that’s the easiest thing. They hung girls. I don’t talk about the food at all, because it was sour. Even the dogs are not given such food,” Hanna told Ukrinform about how the women were treated.

“Those who had tattoos… they wanted to cut off our hands, cut off the tattoos, scalded us with boiling water just because you exist, because you are a marine, because you speak Ukrainian,” she continued, adding that the only thing that kept her going was “the dream of returning home.”

 

Her story adds to a growing number of firsthand accounts of torture at the hands of Russian forces, inflicted on both service members and civilians. Torture, regardless of who it is used on, is considered a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.

More stories have emerged since Ukraine has made advances into Russian-held territories.

After Russian forces were pushed out of Izium last month, an Associated Press investigation identified ten sites in the city in which Ukrainians, including civilians, had been tortured. One woman told The Washington Post she had carved details of her torture into the walls of where she was held so people would know what happened to her had she not survived.

Investigators commissioned by the United Nations concluded in September that Russian forces had committed a number of war crimes, including torture and rape, against soldiers, civilians, and even children. They had also found evidence of forced deportations, which also may be a war crime, as reports suggest Russian forces have been taking Ukrainian children against their will in order to raise them as Russian.

Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at [email protected].

Read the original article on Business Insider
READ ALSO  ‘Affordable pricing, biggest challenge to growth of Africa’s digital economic system’