war crimes in Ukraine

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‘My brother was captured, and my house was bombed out’

15.11.2023    available: Українською | На русском
Oleksii Sydorenko
During active hostilities, an enemy shell almost destroyed the ancestral house of the village Makariv resident, Volodymyr Tokar. His cousin was captured in Mariupol. The man returned home in the fall of 2022 as part of a prisoner exchange, when 215 Ukrainians were exchanged for Viktor Medvedchuk and 55 occupiers.

Everything was broken... What I could, I restored a little on my own. And the looters “helped”  —everything was turned upside down. Everything was broken here, but I cleaned it up a little. This is all terrible, of course. Everything needs to be completely restored. Here was the wall, here was the entrance to the hall, and here was the door. There was a common partition to the bedroom, and this was the entrance to the bedroom where the sister lived. It [the bomb] hit here.

I have lived in this house since birth. In 1963, my parents built it. The parents have already died; there is no mom or dad. I live with my sister. We have a house divided into two parts. I left for evacuation with my partner and her daughter so the grandchildren would be safe. One is three years old, and the second has entered second grade.

Tokar Volodymyr, urban-type settlement Makariv, Kyiv Region

I collected the most necessary things because I heard that the Russians were walking along the Warsaw highway. We went to a safer place — Kodratorf, in the forest, 28 kilometers from Makariv. We left on the first day, the 24th. When it all started, this area was not bombed, and there were no rushists [Rissian troops. The word combines “Russian,” “racist,” and “fascist” ] here, but they flew over us. Well, the children were scared. Then we decided to take the children and grandchildren a little further, to a safer place.

First, we got to Rivne, lived in a boarding house, and then went to Transcarpathia to visit my partner’s brother in Mukachevo. Then we went to Vinnytsia to visit relatives. And when I returned before Easter in April, I saw this disaster.

One of the destroyed rooms in Volodymyr’s house

As I understand it, the arrival hit half of my sister’s. In the end, it destroyed mine too. The windows were damaged; I had already installed new ones myself. The car was wrecked, the gate, the second car. The car’s headlights, windshield, rear window, passenger window, and front right wheel were broken.

They occupied our golf club in the direction of Havronshchina. There was the top point of their position. They didn’t get here, but they hit from there. And they were in the vicinity of Makariv. They also destroyed a lot of things there. And here they may have been, but not en masse. Old residents, older people, those with nowhere to go, and the Territorial Defense remained here. It was hot, especially on the outskirts of Makariv it was hot.

Volodymyr’s temporary housing and broken car

As for the Russians, their propaganda machine is working very hard there. All involved people believe in propaganda. I think Putin should follow the ship! [Russian flagship sank by Ukranians] Yes, hurry up because people have suffered. All — soldiers, elderly people, and children. Those who were captured and children who were taken and deported to Russia.

My cousin was in captivity, and I was also worried. He is the head of the surgical department of a military hospital in the city of Dnipro. He was a prisoner of war until September, and then he was exchanged for Medvedchuk. A year later, in September. He is a surgeon, and he treated people in prison there. It was difficult for him, but in captivity, he cured people and even performed operations. He was in Mariupol, and he was immediately sent to a hot spot. He was at Azovstal. From the end of March to September, he was in captivity. [After captivity] he was immediately sent to a military hospital in Kyiv for rehabilitation. Then, he was in rehabilitation in Poltava and has now returned to work. He says he will go again on the first call if necessary.

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