A UKAINIAN man has said he was tortured, shot and then buried alive by the Russians but managed to escape by playing dead.
Mykola Kulichenko, 33, was seized along with his two brothers, Yevhen and Dmytro, three and a half weeks after the Ukraine war began.
The three were taken for interrogation once the Russians found their grandfather’s military medals and a military bag belonging to Yevhen, 30, who had been a paratrooper.
“They beat my whole body with a metal rod, and they put the barrel of a gun inside my mouth,” he told CNN.
After being beaten until he passed out they were taken to desolate land in the northern Chernihiv region of Ukraine.
There they were blindfolded and made to kneel while their graves were dug.
Mykola said he heard a shot and 36-year-old Dmytro fell to the ground with Yevhen then shot.
But when Vladimir Putin’s troops came to shoot him, the bullet entered his cheek and exited next to his right ear.
The soldiers kicked the brothers’ bodies into the pit, covered them with earth and left he knew his only hope of survival was to play dead.
“It was hard for me to breathe, since Dima (Dmytro) was lying on top of me, but using my arms and knees,” he said.
“I was able to push my older brother off to the side of the pit, and then I climbed out. It’s like being resurrected.”
He staggered through fields in the dark to the nearest house, where a woman took him in and cared for him overnight
Mykola was then able to get back to his sister, who’d been anxiously waiting for days at their father’s home.
“I was lucky… and now I have to just go on living,” he said.
“This story needs to be heard by everyone, not just in Ukraine, but around the world because these kind of things are happening and this is just one in a billion.”
Mykola says his brothers were finally laid to rest beneath on April 21, one month to the day after they were executed.
Chernihiv region prosecutor’s office has begun a war crimes investigation has now been opened.
Investigators have confirmed that the brothers’ hands and legs had been tied and they had been blindfolded.
Across Ukraine, more than 11,600 alleged war crimes have been recorded so far.