After the Russians finally took him out of the city on September 9, Alexander, along with other prisoners, regained his freedom and joy of life. A. Glushko is one of the first who dared to speak about how he survived being tortured by his enemies in the city of Izium.
A former soldier, who fought on the side of Kyiv against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2018-2020, says that Moscow forces interrogated him in Izyum about where the territorial defense of Ukraine is hiding.
“I started giving them false information. There, there somewhere… I didn’t mention any details, I just said that somewhere there, I really saw something. They went to check, they came back angry, they beat me brutally. In short, it peeled like a vegetable, I thought it was over,” said A. Glushko.
Alexander says that after such torture he could neither stand nor speak, so he ended up in the central hospital of Izium, where he was treated for a month and a half.
After finding his military documents, the Russians put a bag over his head and dragged him to the basement, where they beat him for five days in a row. For those five days, his hands and feet were tied in a torture position known as the “swallow” in the former Soviet Union. One could only dream about food and water. However, one Russian soldier, without the others seeing, kept giving him water.
Finally, the tormentors got tired of bothering and threw him right on the street, where he was found by passers-by.
“When I was left with a vegetable, they just dragged me across the road and left me lying in the bushes. Maybe he thought I would shake my legs. There was a path nearby, people were walking. I was able to say that I needed help. A woman came and asked what happened. I said where I live. He went there and explained to the women he met what had happened. Young men appeared, they came to help me,” he said.
After the horror experienced in May, A. Glushko walks with difficulty and can’t manage without a cane. He says that the second time the Russians came to him in August. Straight to home, where he watched a movie in just his underwear and T-shirt. As he stood, he was dragged to the police station, of course with a bag over his head. This time he was not beaten, but tortured with electricity to leave no marks.
“I stayed there for two weeks. He didn’t hit this time. Tortured by electricity. He connected electricity, clamps on his fingers and turned it on. I used to jump in the air,” he said.
Serhiy Bolvinov, head of investigations for Kharkiv regional police, visited the outskirts of the city, where forensic experts are excavating mass graves where 445 war victims are buried, trying to figure out how they died. A grave with seventeen Ukrainian soldiers was also found. Ukrainian police are investigating what happened during the half-year-long Russian occupation. Izium was recaptured by Ukraine during a successful counterattack in September.
“We have a lot of information about the torture and illegal imprisonment of civilians where Russian soldiers were entrenched in Izium. We know what kind of places there are,” said S. Bolvinov.
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