NEW – June 10, 2022
This is not a plot for a movie about the war in Donbass — this is the real fate of a man who miraculously survived after 9 bayonet strikes and found his tormentor
The footage of this meeting was a kind of act of just retribution.
“A comrade came in and said: ‘Let’s go **** the prisoner…’. I went in and stabbed him six (actually 9) times. On the second day, he was taken out, they said that he was dead,” Dmitry Evgan, a former naval infantryman of the 36th Ukrainian brigade with the call sign “Said”, who is now in captivity of the DPR, confesses to the crime on camera.
He is asked to look to the right, and his face changes: to his complete surprise, the same militia member stands in front of him, whose murder he just spoke about.
“Do you remember?” Viktor Lupatsiy, a miraculously surviving DPR fighter, asks. At the sight of his torturer, he barely restrains himself.
“Yes…” the naval infantryman sobs. “Let me beg your pardon. Just for myself…”
“I don’t need your apology, God is your judge…“
We met with the sergeant major of a howitzer battery of the DPR army Viktor Lupatsiy at one of the squares of Donetsk. He has undergone several surgeries and is currently recovering from 13 days of captivity with Ukrainian Naval Infantry. His left arm is in a cast, and a panama hat conceals lacerations and a head pierced by a bayonet knife. Despite all the nightmare that he had to go through, he holds up well and the phrase about an unbroken spirit and will clearly describes him. He sighs and begins a story that one can make a movie out of right now. Without fictions and embellishments about what happened in Ukraine through the eyes of a particular person.
“BEATEN AND LOCKED IN A CELL”
Viktor Lupatsiy is from a family of hereditary metallurgists. As a senior engineer of steam turbines, he worked at the Ilyich Plant in his native Mariupol for 13 years. He would probably still be working like this if it weren’t for Maidan in Kiev. Like most fellow countrymen, he did not accept the new Ukrainian government with its open Russophobia and thick spitting on history. And from the very beginning, together with thousands of citizens, he came to the local “anti-Maidan”.
“We already knew what was going on,” he says. “The burning of people in Odessa on May 2 became the point of no return – that’s it, it wasn’t possible to sit anymore. We came out against the nazis who came to our Mariupol on May 9, when they shot our police for refusing to shoot at us.”
The resistance was suppressed. But Viktor and his friends did not change their opinion. It was scary to talk out loud about what one thinks, but on June 30, 2014, people in black came for him anyway and threw him into a minibus.
“We were brought to the police department and they immediately began to interrogate and torture. Separatism, terrorism, some other articles [of the Criminal Code – ed] – everything was pinned on me. Then we were taken to Mariupol airport. Again torture, they demanded that I hand over all my friends who do not support the new government in Ukraine. I didn’t. They beat me up again and locked me in a cell. Fascists, like in books about the war… At some point they thought I was a corpse, and I was thrown into a pit with tortured Mariupol residents, there, along the old runway. There were a lot of corpses there… I probably lay there for three days, and then they came and noticed that I was moving: ‘Look, how tenacious!’ I thought they would finish me off, but they put me in a truck and took me to the Zaporozhye pre-trial detention centre.”
“REGISTER HIM AS INJURY-FREE”
“Has anyone offered medical help?“
“What’s there… Once a medic came to the pre-trial detention centre, looked at me and at his own: ‘Why did you bring him here? He’s going to grunt, and I will have to answer?’. To which the SBU staff responded: ‘Shut your mouth, register him as injury-free’. He did. Only other prisoners helped — also ‘terrorists’ and ‘separators’. They were afraid to approach me at first — all broken and blue. One said, ‘Bro, you need to eat, you won’t hold out. Will you have borscht?'”
“Borscht? In prison?”
“Yes, they used a boiling pot in a plastic bucket. A month later, I started to get up slowly. It was very hard. They also installed a TV in the corridor, which loudly broadcast Ukrainian news: how everyone [among UAF troops – SZ] is winning, that the militia is defeated, morally crushed. So I stayed for a year and two months, only in August 2015 was I exchanged.”
It took some time to recover, but after everything he had suffered, Viktor was eager to go to the frontline – he wanted to avenge himself, his hometown and those who remained in the pit of the Mariupol airport. So he ended up among the artillerymen, first becoming a gun commander of a howitzer self-propelled artillery division, and then a battery sergeant major. At this point, Viktor pauses, remembering the day when he was captured for the second time in the most brutal way.
“HE PUT MY HEAD ON HIS BOOT AND HIT ME ON THE EAR FROM ABOVE”
“On March 30 of this year, I was given a task – near one village, our self-propelled gun turned over on a bridge and fell into the river, I had to pull it out,” continues Viktor Lupatsiy. “I arrived, it turned out that there is no equipment around that can pull it out. The village is near Mariupol and I decided to stop by the city — for many years I hadn’t seen my mother and father, I did not know whether they were alive or not. I passed three of our roadblocks. I walked back to my parents’ house. It seemed like no military personnel were visible. I just turned out of the next yard and saw that four submachine guns were aimed at me. There was no chance to escape, they took away my ammunition, weapons, took my ID card and blindfolded me. My father, mother, and brother saw it all. They ran up to me, asked me to give them a hug, and only my mother was allowed. I managed to tell her to get out of town. And I was taken to the ‘Ilyich Plant’, where I once worked. They took me to a bunker and everything happened again, just like in 2014: they interrogated me harshly. They thought I was a fire spotter, but they didn’t believe I wanted to see my parents. They beat me first with their hands and feet. Then they brought bats, broke my ribs, my arm. One of them said, ‘You’re going to get concussed by a 152-round shell.’ He put my head on his boot and used his hand to hit me on top of my ear. There was blood coming out of my ear. I was lifted up, and again…”
How long that “interrogation” lasted, the militiaman does not know: he lost consciousness several times. He woke up when they dragged him into some room and threw him. He spent several days there. The tormentors visited all the time, saying that the DPR and the LPR were defeated, Russian troops were fleeing from Mariupol and soon Ukraine would move on to Russia. They boasted that all of Europe and America were helping them. It lasted about a week. And then the day came when he said goodbye to life.
“I WANT YOU TO KNOW: ‘SAID’ KILLED YOU”
“The door opened, a man who did not have a left hand came in and said: ‘Either you cooperate with us, or we’ll waste you.’ I refused: I will not brand myself as a traitor. This enraged him, he pulled out a bayonet knife and began to beat me with it. The first blow to the shoulder, then to the collarbone, three blows to the back, two to the neck and two more to the head. I had already fallen, and he tried to put a knife in my head, my skull bones were fractured. It bled. He sat down and said with a smile: ‘I want to see how you die.’ He liked it. Then he added: ‘You’re a real warrior, you didn’t whimper. I want you to know: ‘Said’ killed you. I asked to die myself. He agreed and left.”
Viktor lay bleeding and saying goodbye to his family. But there was still no death — vital organs were not touched, the blood clotted.
“I realised that this is an opportunity to pretend to be dead. Two days later they came in and dragged me on a stretcher outside. I heard someone say that they should throw me away behind the boiler room: ‘so that it doesn’t stink.’ I was lucky that they didn’t have a medic, and they didn’t check my pulse – otherwise they would have finished me off. They threw me away and left.”
After waiting for darkness, the militiaman crawled. He crawled all night, and by morning…
13 DAYS IN CAPTIVITY
“I was crawling over the glass fragments and some people jumped out at the noise. There were UAF militants. So I was captured again, for the third time, it turns out. The Ukrainian naval infantrymen kept my ID, only a DPR uniform, so they could not determine who I was. I understood this and said that I was mobilised, came under shelling, and then crawled, not knowing to where. I was beaten up a little, but it’s nothing compared to what it was. Their medic examined the wounds and said it looked like shrapnel. They calmed down and locked me in some room. I lay there for two days, they came in, said they were leaving and giving me a chance, leaving me here. But the door was blocked. And three hours later I heard someone walking around, disassembling the metal at the door, they opened it and asked: is there anyone alive. I answered.”
Viktor’s voice trembles when he describes the moment of liberation – he did not believe his luck when he saw white bandages on the arms of those who entered: the identification marks of the forces of Russia and Donbass. But just in case, he still asked them for documents. The guys laughed, but documents were shown and he was brought to an “Ural” vehicle, where the militiaman immediately lost consciousness. He spent 13 days in captivity. But he didn’t forget about the one-handed swine “Said”.
“At the hospital, I asked to call the senior and gave him all the data about ‘Said’ so that he would not pass himself off as a civilian and he would not be missed. Such a creature could not be missed.”
“I WANTEF TO TEAR HIM TO PIECES”
Then there were operations on the body and the head pierced with a bayonet knife. A long-awaited meeting with his beloved, three children, he began to slowly walk around Donetsk. One day there was a call: the security forces asked to drive up and showed a photo of “Said”, who surrendered, and whom Viktor immediately recognised.
And then there was a meeting on camera. To the complete surprise of “Said” — he also recognised his victim and immediately rushed to beg for forgiveness.
“Honestly?” says the militiaman when I ask him a question about the feelings that arose when he met his tormentor. “I wanted to tear him to pieces, I restrained myself, it was very hard, all the memories came flooding back at once. But I understood — firstly, he is a prisoner, and secondly, we are not like them, we are not brutes. God is his judge, I told him so.”
“Would you like to meet him again?”
“Yes. But not in such a situation, but on the battlefield, and no longer look into his eyes.”
“Did you look him in the eyes? Did he really repent of what he did?“
“I don’t think so. He understands that he is ‘screwed’, and his reaction is just animal fear for his own skin. While I was in captivity, I realised that there was only a small percentage of soldiers who had not yet lost their human form. But the main part is just already… And it doesn’t matter whether they are ‘Azov‘ militants or serve in the Ukrainian army. What do you think: Donetsk is now being shelled with heavy artillery by the ‘Azov’ nationalist battalion? They don’t have such weapons, but ordinary Ukrainian soldiers do. Don’t they see who they’re killing? They do: artillery is an exact science. And as for me, I don’t see any point in feeling sorry for them. The same Ukrainian military wanted to make a ‘samovar’ out of me — to tie my arms and legs with a tourniquet and cut them off. And when ‘Said’ cut me, he sat down and said: ‘I killed you Moskals, I am killing you and I will continue to kill you.’ Are these normal people? I would like to recover and go back to the frontline, finish off this bastard.”
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