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Ukrainian women prisoners of war about the experienced atrocities

05 Apr, 2022
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Ukrainian women prisoners of war about the experienced atrocities

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The women fighters were captured, tied their hands, and put a bandage over their eyes.


After their release, Ukrainian military signalmen Anastasia Matrushchenko and Oleksandra Tsepuk spoke about being held captive by Russian occupiers. Photo: minre.gov.ua.

They shared their stories with the Ministry of Reintegration.

The location of the military unit, where Anastasia Matrushchenko served, was shot by the invaders with artillery and tanks. After that, they took the fighters prisoner, tied their hands, and put a bandage over their eyes.

First, the girl ended up in Belarus, a military man of non-Slavic appearance threatened her with reprisal. Later they were transferred to the pre-trial detention center in Bryansk, where they were tortured for not responding to the greeting "Glory to Russia!".

The girls had to go through a lot of terrible things. In the presence of men, they were forced to undress and squat completely. Shaved bald. In the cell, they interrogated again and again, says Anastasia.

In the current practice of international judicial institutions, some decisions recognize that the forced shaving of the head can be considered ill-treatment.

"Shaving the head of our women prisoners of war attempts to impose deviance on them. It is a means of social control that the occupiers use to attack human dignity. Since the Middle Ages, executioners have used shaving as an important part of their torture ritual. The task was to humiliate a person." - said Elena Khritonova - PhD in Law, Associate Professor of the Department of Criminal Law No. 1 of the National Law University named after Yaroslav the Wise, expert of a number of international projects and organizations,

The communication center, where Oleksandra Tsepuk serves, defended herself from the onslaught of the enemy by all possible means. But the invaders actively used heavy weapons, and bombarded the bunker with grenades. Women miraculously survived.

Oleksandra says they wanted to use them for filming the propaganda stories in Belarus and demanded to switch to Russian.

Irina Vereshchuk after the exchange of prisoners of war

The Odessa Journal

The Odessa Journal

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