War in Ukraine: The horrific story of a Ukrainian taxi driver who is beaten, sedated and held in a forest pit | world news

The moment Mykhailo Orlovskyi was taken by Russian troops was captured on his own dashcam.

You can see him being driven off by soldiers on top of an armored vehicle, his arms in the air.

At the time, a Russian soldier was driving Mykhailo’s car – which recorded the arrest in real time.

“The first thing I thought about was how I was going to survive. The second thing was that I was going to die,” he told Sky News.

The footage from his dashcam was later released in Russia and published online by a Russian journalist.

Mykhailo Orlovskyi who was arrested by Russian troops and forced to spend a month in prison is beaten, talks to Sky's Sally Lockwood
The attack was captured on Mykhailo Orlovskyi .’s dashcam

After his arrest, he describes how he was stripped of his clothes and glasses and taken to a dense forest area.

“They beat us in the woods, started interrogating us, tied us up and threw us into a pit where they held us for two days,” he told us.

It was March 7 – and bitterly cold.

“They threw a jacket over me, which they then fastened. I was just wearing a jacket and sweatpants, and that was it. But thank goodness the jacket at least had a hood.

“Cardboard was thrown into the pit at the bottom and there were also two boxes for you to sit on.”

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Mykhailo was a civilian taxi driver, but had volunteered to help the Ukrainian army.

After two days in the hole in the forest, he was flown by helicopter to a prison in Kursk, Russia.

“We were transferred from office to office, from interrogation to interrogation.

“We had to constantly sign documents, were interrogated, beaten.

“Everything took about six hours. They took us to a separate room, where they beat us on the kidneys, liver, ribs, neck and legs with boxing gloves.

“They also used a stun gun. They hit us so hard.”

Mykhailo Orlovskyi who was arrested by Russian troops and forced to spend a month in prison is beaten, talks to Sky's Sally Lockwood
Mykhailo Orlovskyi Talks to Sky’s Sally Lockwood

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He describes how male and female prisoners all had their heads shaved, their blood samples, DNA and fingerprints taken.

“They took my phone and even my wedding ring,” he says. “They took all my documents… passport, driver’s license. All that is still with them.”

Nearly 500 Ukrainian citizens are currently in Russian prisons.

Mykhailo was inside for a total of four weeks before being switched during a prisoner swap in April.

During his captivity, he had to sing the Russian national anthem which was played repeatedly.

“There was a radio, there was a loudspeaker on the door. And when the national anthem was played, and it played about 10-15 times a day, we had to stand in line and sing the national anthem of the Russian Federation. “

Mothers best birthday present

meanwhile in UkraineMykhailo’s family was concerned about what had happened to him. After two weeks, they finally found a Russian mugshot taken after his arrest and published online.

When Mykhailo heard that he would be exchanged in a prisoner swap, he sobbed during the three-hour drive to the border. It was April 10, his mother’s birthday.

“I called her and said I’m fine, I’m alive and well. I remember her tears of joy. She was happy that God would give her such a gift for her birthday.”

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When he remembers this, he bursts into tears and has to stop.

Finally, he continues: “A very difficult moment was when I was talking to my brother and he told me that there was a moment when he thought I was already dead, that I was not there anymore. Even now it is difficult. “

Still busy

Mykhailo has since returned to the place where he was taken. His personal belongings were still on the floor – his glasses case, his AirPod headphones, his business cards.

He also found his Mercedes car – now completely burned out but the serial number was still visible.

Without his car he has lost his livelihood. It is clear that it is financially heavy on him to start all over again.

That, coupled with the harrowing ordeal that it’s clear he’s still working on.

But he managed to escape with an important message to the world about the horrors faced by Ukrainian citizens in Russian detention.

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