Marta Gichko14:20, 08/14/236 min.383
36-year-old soldier of the 67th brigade, Ilya Mikhalchuk, still recalls with horror 46 days of captivity at the Wagner PMC militants.
The man lost both his arms, and is now undergoing treatment in the United States.
According to The Washington Post , the “Wagnerites” carefully planned the assault on the positions near Bakhmut, where Ilya was located.
The warrior was seriously injured during the battle: fragments of broken shells cut his left hand, and his right hand was even more crippled.
As the military man recalls, he saw only blood and his own flesh. The injuries were terrible.
The path to “Wagner hell”
The “Wagnerites” hate the 67th Ombre, because they associate it with the “Right Sector”. Ilya admitted that he was ready to be shot, but he was unexpectedly taken prisoner. However, the real horrors have only just begun.
He recalls that the Wagner fighters removed the tourniquets from him and replaced them with rough rubber tubes, tying them in knots so tight that it was impossible to untie them.
On the territory controlled by the occupiers, Mikhalchuk begged the “Vanero” to amputate his right hand. According to him, they refused to help him.After 10 hours, the warrior was brought to the base for prisoners.
He was placed in a dark and poorly ventilated basement.According to him, the left hand could have been saved, but it turned black from necrosis, bled from a tight rubber tourniquet.
Ilya noted that the “Wagnerites” made it clear that he would not be provided with medical assistance.Then Mikhalchuk was sedated, and after that he woke up with two arms amputated to the elbows.
The people who performed the procedure did not even sew up the skin, leaving the wounds open.
“The interrogations were continuous. When Ilya lost consciousness, he was injected with an unknown substance to bring him back to his senses and continue talking. The occupiers did not seem to be interested in tactical information, such as the location of Ukrainian troops or other potentially useful intelligence … Instead, he suggests that “Wagner” needed only for psychological torture. The invaders mocked the amputated limbs, gloating that he would never fight again, “the newspaper writes.
“Nobody Needs You”
According to him, Wagner’s strategy is aimed at undermining the values of Ukrainians and making them doubt that society will need them after their release from captivity.
In addition, they manipulatively tried to sow doubts that the prisoners needed each other.
“They tried to make us believe that we couldn’t trust each other and that it was a kill-or-be-killed situation. They were just playing with us like a cat plays with a mouse – when it catches it before killing it,” he said.
According to Mikhalchuk, the Wagner fighters are a mixture of serious soldiers and unpredictable executioners from prisons.
But the Wagner soldiers in the basement of his makeshift prison were professionals. He didn’t know their names.
Many showed more respect for the soldiers who were captured during the fighting, but less for those who surrendered – they were treated with derision.
Some prisoners were physically tortured, but he did not witness this.
The most cruel mockery took place at the moment of capture, and not in the basement.
According to him, some Ukrainians had their fingers cut off. One man taken prisoner with him was doused with gasoline and set on fire before being taken away.
“Time is running out”
Ilya admitted that the support of other prisoners helped him to endure captivity.
They bathed and fed him with care he never expected. They took turns talking to him when the pain was too much to let him sleep.The air in the basement was stuffy, and eventually the Wagner soldiers cut a hole in one of the walls to improve circulation.
The captives existed in some strange dimension without sun or clock. The first week flew by very quickly for Mikhalchuk due to disorientation.
In the second week, a new prisoner brought a watch on which the date and time flashed.
After that, according to him, “time began to drag on.”There was a routine.
Late in the evening, the guards announced which of the prisoners would be released the next morning. Mikhalchuk’s name was announced on April 15.
When he came out of the basement, his eyes hurt from the sun, it was difficult to breathe fresh air after so many weeks in the stuffy basement.
He, along with other prisoners, was taken to an agreed place – a direct road so that the Ukrainian and Russian military had good visibility.
Several drones on each side hovered over them, some only a few meters above their heads.
The first thing Mikhalchuk asked for when he was in his native land was coffee and a cigarette.
He doesn’t know what happened to the dozens of soldiers who were with him when Wagner’s troops attacked.
According to him, the state of uncertainty upsets him.
“The parents of these brothers… they all want to talk to me. I don’t even know how to talk to them or what to say to them,” the warrior admitted.
Mikhalchuk spent two weeks in the hospital. Ukrainian doctors performed operations to correct his hasty amputations.
After that, he was sent for treatment and prosthetics in the United States.
The prostheses he received are equipped with bionic sensors. They allow you to bend your elbow and control your wrists.
“Middle finger” to the Russians
Ilya picked up an object for the first time in five months.
A rubbery hand grabbed the white bottle. The warrior admitted that it was unusual.
He immediately began to train the most important movements: how to bring an artificial hand to his face to eat, drink and, importantly, smoke.
According to him, one of the important goals is to tie your shoes.
In addition, new hands gave the warrior other opportunities. During training, the interpreter asked Ilya: “Can you show the middle finger to the Russians?”Michalchuk smiled.