An online news conference held on August 22 by Azov fighters who defended the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol was dedicated to the show trial involving Azov fighters in Mariupol and violations of the Geneva Convention when the Russians held Ukrainian troops captive.
One fighter of the Separate Special Purpose Unit of Azov called Vladyslav “Wikipedia” Zhayvoronok, who was captured by Russian occupiers and injured, took part. He had fought from the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine until the evacuation of Azov troops from Azovstal.
“Russia uses every method of pressure. It’s important to understand that Russia doesn’t search for the truth. Russia decides what the truth will be and, in accordance with this truth, it begins to come up with facts. In our case, about treatment, Russia needed to have some facts that we were treated somehow. However, it wasn’t treatment; it was saving lives to make us simply live to the moment when we would be exchanged,” Zhayvoronok said at the online news conference.
“The pressure was extreme, first and foremost psychological. Because of it, Russia didn’t provide access to relatives or connection with the outside world. The psychological pressure was like saying to us ‘no one needs you. You’re losing in this war… ‘ This violated International Conventions,” Zhayvoronok noted.
In addition, he added that questioning took place before he began to receive antibiotics after limb amputation.
“Fighters who were there were tortured. Needles were stuck into the wounds of some of them. Somebody was tortured by water. Somebody else didn’t receive enough treatment as a result of the lack of medicines or knowledge on the part of specialists,” Zhayvoronok said, commenting on the torturing of injured fighters.
Azov fighter Denys “Mango” Chepurko defended Mariupol from the very start of Russia’s invasion, was wounded at Azovstal, lost an arm, and was evacuated to the 120th colony in Olenivka.
“I was a witness to guys being beaten. We were expelled to the so-called search area; we had to take off our clothes and squat when it was very hot. Whoever raised his head was beaten. I was also beaten during questioning. They wanted us to testify against our commanders and to say that it was we who destroyed the city. I refused to sign this. And they threatened me with shooting,” Chepurko said.
“We were given 600 ml of water for two days. This water was undrinkable. Russia violated the Geneva Convention. Ten people slept on the floor 1 metre by 1 metre in size,” he added.
“I was bought to Olenivka. The Red Cross wasn’t allowed to see us. There was a car with humanitarian aid, that didn’t have access to the colony,” Chepurko underlined.
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