Appeal raises $135,000 for a released Ukrainian POW to help with medical expenses after his brutal treatment by Russian captors




Mykhailo Dianov before and after being in Russian captivity
Mykhailo Dianov before and after being in Russian captivity  
  • More than $130,000 has been raised for a Ukrainian man who was held as a POW by Russian captors.

  • Photos of Dianov show him severely emaciated and scarred after his time in prison.

  • He has a scar on his elbow caused by rusty pliers being used to pull a foreign object out of his arm.

More than $130,000 has been raised for a Ukrainian soldier who was held as a prisoner of war by Russian captors.

Mykhailo Dianov, a musician who served in the Azov regiment, was one of the 215 PoWs freed in a surprise prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia earlier this week. The swap was brokered by Saudi Arabia, according to reports.

Photos of Dianov shared by the Ukrainian military show him emaciated, bruised, and scarred after his time in a Russian prison.

In one photo, he shows his arm to the camera, which features a ragged scar over a deformed elbow.

His sister, Alona Lavrushko, told Ukrainian news outlet Pravada that the scar was the result of rusty pliers being used to pull a foreign object out of his arm without an anesthetic.

 

She added that, while Dianov may be struggling physically, "mentally, Mykhailo is very strong. He is extremely happy that he is back. He says, 'I am walking and breathing clean, free air.'"

Lavrushko has been accepting PayPal donations for her brother, and Kyiv Independent journalist Illia Ponomarenko has said that over five million Ukrainian hryvnias ($134,543.85) have been raised to help with Dianov's medical expenses.

Russian captors were brutal, say POWs

Aiden Aslin, 28, a British man released by Russia in POW swap on September 22, 2022
Aiden Aslin, 28, a British man released by Russia in POW swap on September 22, 2022  

Some of the POWs freed earlier this week have given accounts of brutal treatment and torture by their Russian captors.

Speaking to the Sun on Sunday, Aiden Aslin, 28, a British man released, said he was "treated worse than a dog" and kept in solitary confinement for five months.

He was captured fighting as a volunteer alongside Ukrainians in the southern port city of Mariupol, which was under siege by Russian forces for more than two months.

He said he was punched in the face, stabbed, and asked if he wanted a quick or "beautiful death."

He said the prisoners were kept in overcrowded cells and forced to sing the Russian national anthem. "If you didn't sing it, you would get punished for it. You would get beaten," he said.

A prisoner who was freed in June told The Times that the Russians "torture, they thrash people so bad they break a limb or pierce a lung.

"I witnessed one guy who had a heart attack and passed out while being beaten. They didn't help, they just pulled him to the side. I don't know what happened to him," they said.

The UN has previously said that Russian trials of Ukrainian prisoners of war could be war crimes, and has also described the treatment of these prisoners as having "suffered torture and ill-treatment, and in some places of detention lack adequate food, water, healthcare, and sanitation."

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