WARNING! SHOCKING CONTENT (18+)
In September 2014, Rusich, a Russia-backed unit led by a sadistic neo-Nazi, took volunteer fighter Ivan Isyk prisoner. A month later, the parents received his mutilated body.
Ivan’s mother Olga is of Polish origin, some relatives of her still live in the town of Sanok. Before the Second World War, her grandmother moved to Drohobych; the post-war border altering resulted in her daughters’ being considered as Ukrainians by the Soviet authorities. And the grandma died in Kazakhstan: the woman was sent into internal exile for her religious activities.
30-year-old Ivan Isyk, a resident of Drohobych, was a soldier of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. On 5 September 2014, he was taken prisoner by separatists as his unit fell into an ambush near the village of Vesola Hora (Luhansk region). Notorious Alexei Milchakov, a neo-Nazi from St.Petersburg, is known to be their commander. Milchakov (call signs ‘Serb’, ‘Fritz’) won a reputation of a sadist. In Donbas, he cut off ears of killed Ukrainian soldiers, scratched swastikas on their dead faces and made selfies against the backdrop of burned corpses of Ukrainians. Milchakov posted the pictures of his ‘deeds’ on social networks.
The Ukrainian soldiers who survived the attack were filmed by the militants and UK citizen Graham Phillips who worked for the Kremlin mouthpiece Russia Today. The first recordings clearly show that Ivan was still able to walk. However, five days later, when Phillips was interviewing him in a hospital in Luhansk, the man had burns covering over 70 percent of his body. A few days after the interview, Isyk was kidnapped from the hospital; his lacerated body was given back to his family only after a month.
His parents and Ukrainian investigators believe that the severe burns were the result of torturing, but according to the death certificate issued by the so-called Luhansk republic, the man died of stomach ulcer in hospital. The autopsy conducted by Ukrainian doctors showed that his internal organs were cut out and then put back into his body. A piece of the Ukrainian flag was found in his throat; fragments of the brain – in his stomach.
“I cannot even imagine what my child had to get through before he died. The only thing that matters to me is punishing the perpetrators. Moreover, those who were aware of tortures, but still interviewed him, should be stripped of the right to journalise. I believe that Poland will help us make the son’s story public,” Ivan’s father Vasyl Isyk said during a meeting at the Polish Embassy in Kyiv in late January.
Ivan’s parents are set to draw the International Criminal Court’s attention to the case. They blame the Russian state for the death of their son. They are also seeking the international condemnation of Phillips’ breaking journalistic ethics. The British blogger is infamous for aggressively ‘interviewing’ seriously wounded and intimidated Ukrainian soldiers.
“It is the separatists who killed my son by putting him to torture. His documents were sent to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. We hope Polish MEPs could support us in our effort to recognize the separatists war criminals,” Vasyl Isyk said.