Ukrainian teenager captured by Russians recalls his prison

A Ukrainian teenager captured by Russians claims he had to clean rooms where fellow prisoners were tortured and detained a man who tried to kill himself by slitting his wrists.

Vlad Buryak, 16, was captured by Russians as he tried to flee his hometown of Melitopol in central Ukraine. He ended up in solitary confinement somewhere in Russian-occupied Ukraine, where he said he witnessed untold scenes of cruelty.

“I was extremely scared. I was shocked. Like everything inside of me had been set on fire,” he told The Washington Post.

Buryak recalled a cellmate who was regularly beaten and electrocuted for hours each day, his screams echoing throughout the cell block. The man eventually slit his wrists with sharpened tin can lids and lay dying in the teenager’s arms, Buryak said.

The man was later picked up by Russian guards and moved to a new location. It is not known if he survived.

Vlad Buryak
Vlad Buryak said he had to clean rooms where other prisoners were tortured.
Facebook/Save Vlad Buryak

On other occasions, Buryak said he was forced to clean rooms where other prisoners were tortured and often discarded blood-soaked medical supplies.

“I had no emotion,” he told the newspaper. “I bottled them all. I acted like nothing had happened. I didn’t show any aggression, so they won’t do the same to me.

Russia has long denied ever practicing torture or other war crimes, and the outlet said it could not independently verify Buryak’s story. US officials said the country kidnapped thousands of Ukrainians during the conflict and torture was common.

Vlad Buryak
Vlad Buryak said he was “extremely scared”.
Facebook/Save Vlad Buryak

Buryak, however, was lucky. Her father Oleg Buryak was a high official in Ukraine. On July 4, Oleg was contacted by a Russian negotiator who offered to arrange a prisoner exchange, according to the report.

Young Buryak declined to go into details of the deal, but father and son were reunited at the side of a road along occupied Ukraine.

“When Vlad was kidnapped, I felt like a piece of my heart had been ripped out of me,” Oleg Buryak told the newspaper. “And when I hugged him, I felt like that piece was coming back.”

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Post expires at 2:46am on Friday July 22nd, 2022