Azov regiment soldier ‘Tork’ returned to Ukraine during the POWs swap on June 29. The defender of Mariupol told about Azovstal, the conditions of his stay in Russian captivity and return to Ukraine in Azov-media YouTube story.
Tork joined Azov regiment four years ago. He was seriously wounded during the fighting for Mariupol. In April, Tork was brought to Azovstal plant from the other side of the city under fire and saw other servicemen die. The defenders reached the plant through a bridge, which had turned into a cemetery due to constant shelling.
On the bridge, their vehicle came under fire and fell into the water. Tork managed to survive and swam under the bridge, where he hid for a while with two other soldiers. The occupiers shelled the bridge for about 2.5 hours. Tork’s fellows were killed by enemy snipers and he continued his way alone.
‘I crawled through several plant facilities and realized that I would die either of blood loos or from cold,’ he said. Tork crawled about a kilometer to the plant, where he was taken and carried on a stretcher to an evacuation vehicle.
The founder and first commander of Azov regiment, Andrii Biletsky told that no one at Azovstal believed that Tork had survived because the convoy was destroyed by Russians.
In Azovstal, Tork got emergency medical help. He said that there were problems with food, water and medicines. A cup of porridge and a piece of lard were given out for the day. According to him, if a soldier was able to tolerate pain, then they said that it was better to do so, because another soldier who received a more serious injury might need painkillers. The hospital on the territory of the plant was a bunker for 300 people, and the room was 50 meters long and 20 meters wide.
Later, together with the rest of the defenders, he got into Russians captivity. Tork did not want to surrender, but he trusted the commander’s decision and understood what kind of injury he had. The defenders were sent to a rehabilitation center. There was a lack of medicines there.
The Russian occupiers and propagandists tried to get fake information out of the prisoners of war regarding the commander of Azov Denys Prokopenko and other officers.
So-called ‘reporters’ from the so-called DNR came to the prisoners and tried to ask provocative questions. They claimed that the defenders of Mariupol attacked the Russians. However, the fighters replied that they were standing in their positions and defending their city.
During the interrogation, a representative of the Russian investigative committee admitted that their intelligence had failed. They were told that ‘many cities will gladly surrender and there will be no resistance’ and indeed they believed that ‘everything will be over in three days’.
The occupiers used torture during interrogations. One of the methods was to insert a needle into the wound.
On the day of the exchange, the soldiers were not told where they were going, but were simply woken up in the morning and told to go. Tork added that they hoped they were going home then and joked that it was a good thing they did not end up in the basement again. They passed many checkpoints on the way to Zaporizhzhya.
After reaching the territory controlled by Ukraine, he was brought to a hospital.
Tork says he believes that all prisoners of war from Azovstal will be back home, since they were in their city and defended it.