Horses Burned Alive and 109 Days of Captivity: The Story of a Common Ukrainian Man

Horses Burned Alive and 109 Days of Captivity: The Story of a Common Ukrainian Man

Viktor Kukuyuk is an ordinary civil 42-year-old man from Chernihiv oblast. Nevertheless, this did not prevent russians from holding him captive and torturing for a long time.

Viktor was captured in Hostomel (the city not far from Kyiv), where he went to work before the war. He was glad to get this job because he adored horses; he knew how to take care of the animals and loved the process very much.

It was his first working day when the war started… Helicopters were flying, massive shelling began… Russians bombed the Hostomel airport… The owners could not get to the stable. It was impossible for employees to get out not only because of bombing: they could not leave the horses, as well. There were 32 animals in the stable.

On March 2, russians captured the stable. They thought the employees were military. They tied their hands and beat them with the weapons so that the dental fillings flew out of the teeth. Russians threatened to shoot them.

On their knees the grooms begged the russian soldiers not to hurt the horses. But the animals were not spared… Viktor told the story with tears in his eyes. The russian military burned 32 horses alive inside the stable.

Russian soldiers took away all precious things, money, and documents. There were 40 more prisoners (both military and civilians). The attitude was horrible! Poor food, 2 liters of water for 20 people per day, “toilet” (the bottle) in the room where they were all captured.

On March 7, Viktor and other prisoners were transported to russia. They were kept in tents (14 people in one). The Ukrainians were promised that after the interrogations, all non-military people would be released. As always, russians cheated. On March 14, they were taken to jail in Kursk.  Ukrainians were constantly beaten and humiliated. They were beaten with loaded sticks and electric shockers.

However, the prisoners suffered the most terrible torture in the Kursk women’s colony, where they were brought on March 15. They had their ribs, noses, arms, and legs broken. They were treated and beaten again. For the camera, they were forced to say that they were treated well and had everything they needed. One of them was beaten to death in Kursk…

The prisoners were constantly forced to sing “Katyusha”, “Victory Day”, “Uncle Vova, we are with you” (the russian songs), and the national anthem of russia. They sang this repertoire with unspeakable hatred in their hearts in order to survive. Nevertheless, there was enough water and a separate toilet (not a “bottle”). It was sincere prayer that helped to live. Viktor studied the Lord’s Prayer to the end, because all prayed together aloud.

On March 27, Viktor was transported to Simferopol and then to Sevastopol (the cities in the occupied Crimea). It was from there that the representatives of the Red Cross sent the message to Viktor’s relatives for the first time, telling he was alive.

On Apri 18, Viktor and 4 other prisoners were finally exchanged and returned home. It was the happiest day in their lives!

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