A Russian soldier raped a 19-year-old Kateryna from Mariupol in an empty apartment

The girl evacuated to Poland a month after the rape. Photo: Karolina Jonderko

19-year-old Kateryna evacuated from Mariupol to Warsaw. The Chechen soldier raped her during hostilities in her hometown. 

Kateryna’s boyfriend left for work abroad just before Russia’s full-scale invasion, so she lived with his family. The girl and other civilians hide in the basement for the first weeks. On March 26, two Chechen fighters entered the shelter. The military said they were checking the documents.

Kateryna remembers that the Russian soldiers wore balaclavas, had weapons and looked drunk. One of the occupants drew attention to Kateryna. He put his hand on her cheek and asked her name. The soldier told her to go upstairs for an “examination.” The girl said she was afraid to go out, but the criminal led her to an empty apartment on the second floor. There, the man raped Kateryna. When she begged on her knees to let her go, the occupier threatened to kill her.

Kateryna’s friend, 38-year-old Artem, an employee of the Azovstal plant, confirmed her story. He returned to the basement after visiting his mother with a shrapnel injury in the hospital. Artem heard from witnesses that the Russian soldier took Kateryna out. “There were other men in the basement who could have helped her, but they were also afraid,” the man said.

In April, Kateryna, Artem, and three family friends evacuated. To save their lives, they crossed the Russian checkpoints, got to Latvia and Lithuania, and then went to Poland. However, even in safety, the girl didn’t tell the police about the rape she experienced. Kateryna says that one day she will dare, but she has not seen the face of a criminal and knows nothing about him. Despite everything, the girl hopes the occupier will be punished.

Kateryna’s story was published by The Washington Post

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