News Politics Society, 31/10/2017

Over Three Years in ‘DNR’ Captivity

Since September 2, 2014, Kharkivite Oleksiy Kirichenko has been kept prisoner by “DNR” terrorist formation.

This is the fourth year that his friends and family have been trying in vain to make the man free, writing appeals to the officials and arranging meetings in Kyiv and Kharkiv. Although the protocol of negotiations in Minsk demanded “to release all hostages and illegally detained persons,” it has not been fulfilled yet.

Oleksiy Kirichenko went to defend Ukraine in summer 2014 as a military volunteer as soon as the war started. “He was fighting in Savur-Mohyla bravely in July and August 2014,” his brother-in-arms Oleksandr Fomintsev says. During the detachment’s retreat, Oleksiy Kirichenko was captured near Starobesheve village.

During last three years many of his fellow prisoners of war were liberated. However, Kirichenko is still in prison despite all the efforts of his wife and his mother, who both have recently got seriously ill. Some friends think that the Kharkivite isn’t set free because he is a patriot of Ukraine, and in his interviews from prison to Russian journalists, he stated that he saw the Russian army fighting against Ukrainians. He calls this war “Russian intervention” and believes that Donbas would “come back to Ukraine.”

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“Oleksiy is an incredibly persevering man with strong will, a real hero you know,” says Helena Solonyna, a friend of the soldier’s wife. Those who were released from captivity say that Oleksiy helps other imprisoned soldiers not to fall into despair. Also, he is trying to support his family, writing that “he is fine” and smiling at them in photos.

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“We hope that international organizations will help to free this ‘abandoned’ soldier,” says Oleksandr Fomintsev, who is arranging public actions to save his friend.

On October 13 “Assistance to Families of Hostages” charity auction was held in Kharkiv. The organizers managed to raise 37, 620 UAH ($1,400) to free the prisoners of “DNR.”

Note: According to the recent report, about 144 Ukrainian citizens are illegally detained in the occupied part of Donbas.

Text: Olena Sokolynska

Photo: Helena Solonyna, Petr Shelomovskiy, Maria Turchenkova