Five Russian soldiers came to my house. They found a military uniform. It was my brother’s. He served as a conscript in the army and kept it.
They took me out and sat me on a bench:
– You are a fire corrector!
– I am not. But if I were, this is my land.
They shot me in the leg with a rifle. Twice. Without warning.
They brought the five of us to a road together, blindfolded with our arms tied. They ordered us to lie down on the ground. That’s how we spent the next 15 days, regardless of whether it was snowing or raining. It was 10 below zero outside at the time.
We had to keep still on the ground with a machine gun aimed at us.
The gunner told us:
– Any attempt to escape, and I will shoot without warning.
There were many other Russian soldiers moving around.
– Why are they still alive? Let’s hang or bury them.
They constantly beat us too. All over.
– We might kill you or we might set you free.
One day they dragged a dead man’s body and threw it near us. The corpse was there for a week. Once, a drunk Russian soldier came and said:
– I will drag the corpse closer and put it between you so that you can sleep warm at night.
A week passed when someone turned up and said: You need to bury.
– Bury who? Ourselves?
The soldier laughed and said that we needed to bury the corpse. Using some rags we dragged the dead man away and buried him. I noticed that his left leg had been shot. He had been tortured too.
In March, when the Russian forces began to withdraw, the men managed to flee. That’s how they stayed alive. The body of the dead man was exhumed in May. He was identified as a 55-year-old resident of a neighboring village, who was also seized at his home by Russian soldiers.
An autopsy revealed that before being killed, the man was severely beaten and shot in both of his legs. He was shot in the head either from the back or when he was lying down. The shot was from very close range.
Another drunk Russian soldier told us exactly the same thing: that we would be digging up bodies they had been leaving behind for quite some time.