Mykola Kulichenko struggles to recount a story he shouldn’t be alive to inform. However this Ukrainian man believes he was allowed to cheat demise so he would possibly converse for all those that can’t.
By the aspect of a distant street within the northern Chernihiv area of Ukraine, Mykola exhibits the unmarked grave by which he and his two brothers had been buried three-and-a-half weeks after the conflict started, in land seized by Russian forces. All three had been shot; he was the one one to outlive.
“It’s like being resurrected,” Mykola, 33, informed CNN.
Till March 18, life for the Kulichenko household had modified little regardless of the Russians occupying their village of Dovzhyk for the reason that begin of the conflict. Then, when a Russian column was bombed, Russian troopers fanned out in search of these accountable. They arrived on the wood-plank home the place Mykola lived along with his two brothers, Yevhen and Dmytro together with their sister, Iryna – who nonetheless hasn’t forgiven herself for not being house that day.
Three troopers informed the brothers to kneel within the entrance yard whereas they searched the house in search of something that might hyperlink them to the bombed convoy, Mykola stated. Based on Mykola, as soon as they discovered the army medals their grandfather owned and a army bag belonging to 30-year-old Yevhen, who had been a paratrooper, the troopers had been satisfied they’d one thing to cover.
Mykola, Yevhen and Dmytro had been pushed to a basement the place they had been interrogated for 3 days, he stated. Mykola stored hoping the Russians would launch them, however on the fourth day, he stated, their temper modified.
“They beat my entire physique with a steel rod, they usually put the barrel of a gun inside my mouth,” he stated.
Alongside along with his brothers, Mykola was tortured till he misplaced consciousness. He says they had been blindfolded, had their palms and legs sure with tape and had been pushed in a army car by 5 Russian troopers to a desolate plot of land. They had been made to kneel, blindfolded, whereas a pit was dug, Mykola stated.
First, he stated, he heard a shot behind him, and 36-year-old Dmytro, the eldest of the three, fell to the bottom. Subsequent, he felt Yevhen, the youngest, drop by his aspect.
“I used to be pondering that I used to be subsequent,” he stated. However the bullet entered Mykola’s cheek and exited subsequent to his proper ear. He knew his solely hope of survival was to play lifeless.
The troopers kicked the brothers’ our bodies into the pit, lined them with earth and left, based on Mykola. He can’t say how lengthy he lay buried alive, solely that along with his palms and legs nonetheless sure he in some way managed to maneuver his means out from underneath his older brother’s corpse and again to the land of the dwelling.
“It was onerous for me to breathe, since Dima (Dmytro) was mendacity on high of me, however utilizing my arms and knees, I used to be in a position to push my older brother off to the aspect of the pit, after which I climbed out,” he stated.
At nighttime, he staggered by fields to the closest home, the place a girl took him in and cared for him in a single day earlier than he was in a position to get again to his sister, who’d been anxiously ready for days at their father’s house.
Learn the complete story right here: