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The horrifying story of Ukrainian taxi driver beaten, stunned and kept in a forest pit

On his dashcam, he captured the moment Mykhailo Orlovskyi’s capture by Russian forces.

You can see him being driven off by soldiers from an armoured vehicle with his arms raised.

A Russian soldier was driving Mykhailo’s car at this moment, which was recording the arrest in real-time.

“The first thing that came to my mind was how I would survive. Sky News told him that the second thing was that he was going to die.

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Later, images from his dashcam were released in Russia by a Russian journalist.

Image This attack was caught on Mykhailo Orlovskyi’s dashcam

He describes his arrest and how he was stripped off his glasses and clothes and taken to thick woodland.

He said that they beat us in the forest and then interrogated us. They tied us up, then threw them into a pit, where they kept us for 2 days.”

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It was the 7th of March, and it was bitterly cold.

They threw a jacket on me and tied it up. I was wearing only a jacket and sweatpants. Thank goodness the jacket did have a hood.

“At the bottom was cardboard, and there were two boxes that you could sit on.”



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Mykhailo was a civilian driver of taxis, but had served as a volunteer for the Ukrainian military.

After spending two days in the hole, he was taken by helicopter to Kursk prison, Russia.

“We were moved from one office to another, interrogation after interrogation.

“We were repeatedly required to sign documents and were interrogated. We were then beaten.

“Everything took about six hours. They moved us to another room where they beat us with boxing gloves against the liver, kidneys, neck, legs, and liver.

“They also used stun guns. They struck us so hard.”

Image Mykhailo orlovskyi speaks to Sky’s Sally Lockwood

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He relates how male and female prisoners were all shaved and their blood, DNA, and fingerprints taken.

He says, “They took my phone and even the wedding ring.” “They took all my documents…passport, driver’s licence. They still have all my documents.

Nearly 500 Ukrainian civilians are currently held in Russian prisons.

Mykhailo spent four weeks inside before being released in prisoner swap in April.

He was forced to sing the Russian national song while incarcerated.

“There was a radio and a speaker hanging on the door. When the Russian Federation’s anthem was being played, which was about 10-15 times per day, we were required to stand up and sing it.


Best birthday gift for mother

Mykhailo’s relatives in Ukraine were worried about his fate. They finally located a Russian mugshot that was taken shortly after Mykhailo’s arrest, which had been published online.

Mykhailo was shocked to learn that he would be exchanged in a prisoner swap. He cried on the three-hour drive to border. His mother was celebrating her birthday on the 10th of April.

“I called her, and she said everything was fine with me. She also stated that I was alive and well. She was so happy that I remembered her crying. She was so happy God had given her this gift for her birthday.

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He recalls this and breaks down in tears.

He said, “It was very difficult even now.” It’s difficult even now.


Still processing

Mykhailo has since been taken back to the spot where he was taken. His personal belongings, including his glasses case, AirPod headphones and business cards, were still on the ground.

Also, he found his Mercedes car which was now totally destroyed but still had the serial number.

He has lost his income and his car is no longer his vehicle. He is clearly struggling to start over financially.

This, combined with the horrible ordeal that he endured, is evident that he is still processing.

He managed to escape, leaving behind an important message about the horrors of Russian detention for Ukrainian civilians.

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