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Valentyna Kozlovska – wife of released scholar Ihor Kozlovsky
- Tell us, please, how long did you wait for your husband?
We waited for a year and 11 months, since January 2016.
- During this time, was there any way to communicate with him?
Over the phone – yes. I had to leave the next day after he was detained on the street of Donetsk, to that place, I was there for the most part of 2016, brought him goods to the detention centre, met the people who were waiting there in queues – spouses and mothers whose relatives were also kept in that detention centre, I went through all of these institutions of the “DNR”, I wrote letters, I addressed Zakharchenko, and the “Ministry of State Security”, and investigators, lawyers, I know all of those people, I saw them, I talked to all of them a few times. They gave me documents. I know all of this. I saw them, and I remember them.
- Why was your husband detained?
When I asked the investigator of the Ministry of State Security: "Why?" He told me, “He has ties with Nazis”. I told him, “With fascists?” He says, “No, the nationalists”. I specified, “With me? I am Ukrainian. My parents are Ukrainians of the seventh, tenth generations, they are buried here; they worked on this land, fought here. For what? What is it?” You see, it’s all because of the bad humanities education, because of not understanding. Because people don’t understand many things at the level of concepts.
- Under what conditions was your husband kept and how is he feeling now?
The conditions were different. First in cells of detention centers, then in a single cell at the detention center, a basement, where our Cossacks were held at the beginning, where now those sentenced to life imprisonment are held. Then a prison in Horlivka, then a basement – he was handcuffed in the basement of the “Ministry of State Security”. These conditions are different, so the person feels differently in them. Some places don’t have light, others the heating, yet others have no basic necessities at all. My husband is a trained man, he worked on self-development his all life, he went through this with dignity, and it was the only way: he had to support other people who were kept there; there were his students, inhabitants of Donetsk, young people.
- How is his health now?
We didn’t even speak about the health. I think there’s something with blood pressure, but that’s the age. However, there are other issues, because after the tortures that happened in that basement he has a problem with his legs, but it is being examined now. I think he will get help, consultations, and we will somehow overcome this situation.
- Where are you now, when are you intending to go home, and what are Ihor’s plans for the future overall?
For the past two years, I’ve been in Kyiv. I moved here in 2015. Now, if the rehabilitation takes longer, we will have to plan for the future here, because we can’t return there now until the territory is freed and other people are working. It’s impossible to be there, it’s dangerous. We will be here somehow. People helped us at all stages. There are way more people who are holding up, both here and there. We have to get united because there are very many people – the guys told yesterday – many of their acquaintances, university professors, students who are there, and we have to get them out. We aren’t giving up the fight and will continue to go there, write, unite so that all of them return home.
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Olha Morozova – mother of released serviceman Oleksandr Morozov
- Can you tell us how long you’ve waited for him and if you can share your story with us?
For me, it was very long, two years and 11 months. The meeting was… I cannot describe it. It was such happiness that he is alive and healthy. Thank god, he will go through a medical examination and everything will be okay, he will return to our Ukrainian way of life, and we will live very happily.
- How is your son feeling now?
Well. He only has a mild concussion. He said that lately his head didn’t ache. He will be examined, and they will tell us everything. He wasn’t wounded, so there’s only that they beat him so an examination is needed. All the guys have teeth that fell out.
- What did Oleksandr have time to tell you about his time in captivity? Did it shock you?
How he was captured, kept in a garage, how they brought him just a handful of soup once a day or didn’t come at all for five days in a row. Then they beat him up badly. He was afraid he would lose his cool because they kept asking him if he loves Ukraine.
- Where are you now and when are you planning to return home?
My son is at the military hospital, and we – the mothers, the spouses, are at the Security Service department. Now the guys are going through an examination, we want to visit them. The examination will take longer than a day – two to three days, they said. And then, if everything’s okay, we will take him home. Some will go home, some of the guys will stay there because there are wounded.
- Did you think of what will happen next, when Oleksandr gets home?
We will spend the holidays together. They received orders that on Jan. 9 they have to be at the military unit. He and his fiancée aren’t married yet, so we are expecting a wedding.
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Natalia Bessarab – wife of Andriy Bessarab, the released lieutenant of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
- We saw a poster where you counted the days of your husband being in captivity. How much in total have you waited for your husband?
Yesterday, for the moment of release he spent 19 months and 5 days in captivity, and thanks God, the so much awaited day of release came.
As the rest of the prisoners of war he was in Makiivka, Donetsk region. They were held in high-security prison, 97th colony. How he feels? We really had very little time since we met, we had an opportunity to talk a bit on the road to the hospital. Looking on the guys, seems that they don’t really understand what is going on. My husband said that he feels giddy and he can’t understand how is it when the sky is without a cage. Obviously, they don’t realize that they are free.
- How he was treated in captivity?
We had little time to talk, that’s why I can’t imagine now this information. I think, I will see him today and tomorrow and he will tell me more about the conditions they were kept and the attitude towards them.
- What is health condition of your husband?
He is very weak, his arms are weak, he lost weight. I payed attention that his manner of walking is a bit strange. I think that’s because they were kept in closed space for a long time and this is some kind of psychological moment.
- Where are you now and when you plan to go home?
I am still in Kyiv. I will be here with my husband for now. They should have their medical examination today, they were promised that they will be immediately examined. Everybody who needs medical aid will get it at once. I hope everything is fine. And by the New Year we will be at home, because children are waiting for their father by the New Year.
- What are your plans for future? Some military men have received the message to come to the military unit on January 9. Does your husband plan to serve in the army of to change the profession?
I think my husband shall take the decision by himself. I can’t tell you whether he goes on serving in the army, because we didn’t talk about that yesterday.