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07/07/2022
90 days of captivity

The Russian military held the 16-year-old boy Vladyslav captive

Oleh Buriak, the Head of the Zaporizhzhia district, with his son released from Russian captivity. Photo from personal archive

Local official Oleh Buriak reported the Russian military kidnapped his son on April 17. 16-year-old Vladyslav was in a convoy of cars evacuating from occupied Melitopol to Zaporizhzhia. The man says the Russians kept the car at the checkpoint for about 3 hours. Then the occupiers released everyone except the boy. Relatives did not know the whereabouts of Vladyslav. After being released, the boy told the Ukrainian bureau of Radio Liberty about his captivity.

Initially, Vlad was in a pretrial detention center, in solitary confinement in Vasylivka (an occupied town of the Zaporizhzhia region). “I had an iron plate. The pillow was dirty, but there was someone’s jacket hanging there. I put it on the pillow and slept like that. I just wanted to sleep badly; this situation took away all my strength and emotions. And I just fell like a dead man and slept, ignoring such things. I drank water and ate only on the fourth day of my stay in the cell. Before that, I didn’t want to eat at all,” says Vlad.

During his captivity, Vladyslav helped in the kitchen, washed the floor, and cleaned the police office. The boy admitted he did it voluntarily so the Russians would not touch him. Vlad ate Russian dry rations during his captivity. The occupiers allowed the boy to go outside for 15-20 minutes daily.

After 48 days, Vlad called his father and told him that the Russians were taking him to another place. They took the boy to Melitopol, where he had better living conditions: a shower, air conditioning, and WiFi. The Russians returned his mobile phone — before that, the boy received it only with permission. Also, Vlad called his father and talked to him only through the speakerphone.

During the second stage of captivity, Oleh Buriak began to make a new plan for his son’s release. On July 7, he managed to meet with Vlad. The boy spent 90 days in captivity. Currently, the Security Service of Ukraine is investigating to find out the names of the kidnappers.

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