Ukrainian military medic in Russian captivity. Part 1

“In Nova Kakhovka he was the youngest prisoner, 18 years old. The Russians pulled his toenails out. I had to redress his wounds for a very long time because he received no medical help after being tortured. Four days later, his fingers started to rot, and only then did the Russians permit me to see him…

In the occupied Nova Kakhovka police department, there were certain rooms, and the things I saw there made me very, very scared. I saw hacksaws, chainsaws, axes, machetes, all covered in blood. I realized that I had never been called to treat people after such tortures; probably, the Russians took them elsewhere afterwards.”

This is an excerpt from Yuriy Armash’s testimonials. Yuriy is a military medic who was captured by the Russians on April 3, 2022, as he was trying to get out of the occupied Kherson region.

Occupiers detained him for more than a year, first in the notorious Nova Kakhovka prison, where he was eventually allowed to provide basic medical help to fellow inmates and torture victims, and later in the infamous penal colony #12 in Russia’s Rostov region, a de-facto concentration camp for Ukrainian POWs and civilians. Yuriy recounts:

“When they brought me to the colony, there were 460 military POWs there; roughly 80 were women. I was shocked at the number of civilians—about 40%. The colony had a “strict treatment” section where the routine was as follows: in the evening, we had to run upstairs to the second floor for the lights-out call, and in the morning, quickly descend for the wake-up call. During this we ran through a corridor lined with the Russians who would hit us with rubber batons. We tried to help those who fell to their feet, otherwise they could be beaten to death.

Those batons broke twice on me. After torture I sometimes would wet or soil myself, and after a beating my face carried their boot marks for a very long time.”

In May 2023, Yuriy was released in a prisoner exchange. Once home, he provided a detailed description of the workings of the terror system built by the Russians.
By Oleg Baturin, Center of Journalist Investigations. 10/20/2023.
Abridged by Lena Nekludova. Translated by Olga Antonyuk

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