PISKY, Bashtanka.- The Russians first tortured him for 24 hours. They then took him to a forest, where they shot him twice and left him lying there, convinced that they had killed him. But Eugenie37-year-old Donbass war veteran, although very seriously injured, miraculously he survived.
This is another incredible story of Vladimir Putin’s War in Ukraine who is 85 days old today. happened in irritateda rural town in City of Bashtanka -one hour left north of Mykolaiv, in southern Ukraine – which the Russians in March, during the first phase of the invasion, occupied for eleven days.
Eleven days in which, according to Marina, Eugeniy’s mother and his 31-year-old sister, Victoria, the invaders, in addition to spreading terror and destruction, looted houses and left this town of 900 inhabitants without electricity, water, gas or telephone connection, they took the opportunity to comply his “vendetta”, his revenge, against the veterans of Donbass, they were looking for, one by one.
“It was March 13 when the Russians came to the house and took Eugeniy away. They tortured him for 24 hours“, denounces Marina, his mother, who does not hide that, since, although she survived to talk about it, her son is no longer the same, he is a destroyed man. “They beat him, tied his hands with wire and continued beating him while asking him where the others were, where the soldiers were. But he remained silent, so they kept beating him again and again, but he didn’t say anything.” add.
After the torture, when Eugeniy was already badly injured, with broken ribs and a bruised arm and hand from the torture, the Russians took him to a forest to be executed.
“They shot him at least twice and they thought he was already dead, so they grabbed the car and drove off. But he heard everything, he was seriously injured and was later found by our soldiers,” says his mother, her clear eyes full of tears and fear. One shot passed near the heart and another near the back, so he survived the execution.
According to the Navy, in a brutal reckoning, the Russians went hunting for veterans of the so-called Donbass War. Encouraged by Putin, the conflict erupted in 2014 in the disputed region of the same name in eastern Ukraine – now the epicenter of the battle – after the Euromaidan revolution that toppled pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych . Then pro-Russian separatists declared the independence of the so-called People’s Autonomous Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. And the Ukrainian government there launched the so-called “anti-terrorist operation” (ATO), in which Eugeniy took part, in which, as in any war, hundreds of people died and atrocities were committed on both sides .
“Obviously they knew he was a veteran of the ATO in Donbass, because when the Russians were torturing him, he heard them talking and one of the Russians asked another when he had met him “, he says. It was a neighbor of the town, the principal of the local school, who gave this information to the invaders, Marina denounces, outraged by this betrayal.
It’s a gray day, suddenly cold and windy. To get to Pisky from Bashtanka, you have to travel a dirt road through the countryside full of potholes and wells in a rural landscape reminiscent of Argentina. If the road is destroyed, it is because the Russian tanks passed by here. The field is very green and you can see cows grazing. Tractors pass and dairy farmers on bicycles and you see peasant houses painted light blue, with gardens with vines, chickens and “pisky”, sand. The silence is broken by the crowing of a few roosters and the wind.
“When the Russians arrived on March 3, they started entering houses, they started looting, but they were also looking for something, they were looking for men. They controlled everything and even climbed on the roofs. They took the chips out of our cell phones, they broke them and they took our phones,” says Marina, 75, mother of five children, three boys and two girls. “They started looking for and arresting all the men of Pisky and told them not to dare to resist because Russia is stronger and they were going to fight anyway,” adds this woman, who has become a spokesperson for this story of terror because her son is not in good shape.
Eugeniy is sleeping and they don’t want to wake him up. “He returned home two weeks ago, after being in Bashtanka hospital and then in Mykolaiv hospital and he is very sick. He has terrible pain that keeps him awake at night and he takes painkillers. The main problem is his arm because 90% of the nerves in his hand were destroyed by the torture he went through and he needs a prosthesis.“says his 31-year-old sister, Victoria, trying not to crack. “The prostheses are very expensive and we are trying to fundraise because we have no money“, he adds.
A mother of two young children, Daniel and Diana, she has also experienced difficult times. “When the Russians arrived, we were six people in the house. The boys, my husband, Taras, my mother and Eugeniy,” he says. As they had no electricity, gas or water for more than 20 days, they cooked on the patio with firewood and were going to fetch water from a well.” Although the worst was when they took away my brother, of whom we knew nothing else until the soldiers found him alive in the forest, but very seriously injured “, he says.
Marina shows on her mobile phone a photo of Eugeniy from three years ago, on her sister Victoria’s birthday. “It was someone else. now it’s very hard to see him like that, prostrate, sore,” he sighs.
Eugeniy, who is married to Irina and has a 5-year-old daughter, Yena, worked as a private guard in Mykolaiv before this war, says his mother saying goodbye. “His dream was to have a big garden here, in our house – he sighs – and to live in our city, which is no longer the same: nobody has a job because of this fucking war.”