Photos: Ukraine war prisoners struggle to rebuild lives

In the five years the eastern Ukraine has been embroiled in bloodshed, between 3,000 and 10,000 people, according to different estimates, survived unlawful detentions and captivity. Almost half of them were civilians. Those who went through captivity have no support system and are on their own with their injuries, psychological traumas and financial hardships. Also, hundreds of people still remain locked up.

Updated On Dec 10, 2019 04:28 PM IST 10 Photos
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Olga poses with a window frame in a park in Kyiv, Ukraine. After being snatched by pro-separatist militias from her hometown of Alchevsk in August 2014, Olga survived three mock executions and was rescued by her girlfriend 10 days later. In the five years that eastern Ukraine has been embroiled in bloodshed, between 3,000 and 10,000 people, according to different estimates, survived unlawful detentions and captivity. (Zoya Shu / AP)

Olga poses with a window frame in a park in Kyiv, Ukraine. After being snatched by pro-separatist militias from her hometown of Alchevsk in August 2014, Olga survived three mock executions and was rescued by her girlfriend 10 days later. In the five years that eastern Ukraine has been embroiled in bloodshed, between 3,000 and 10,000 people, according to different estimates, survived unlawful detentions and captivity. (Zoya Shu / AP)

Updated on Dec 10, 2019 04:28 PM IST
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Vitaly Paraskun holds a photo of himself, taken right after he was released from of captivity, in a church in Kyiv where he serves, Ukraine. Paraskun was captured in October 2014 by a gang of Cossacks in the Luhansk region, where he, an Evangelical priest, was doing missionary work. Paraskun spent 199 days in an unheated basement and was regularly tortured. (Zoya Shu / AP)

Vitaly Paraskun holds a photo of himself, taken right after he was released from of captivity, in a church in Kyiv where he serves, Ukraine. Paraskun was captured in October 2014 by a gang of Cossacks in the Luhansk region, where he, an Evangelical priest, was doing missionary work. Paraskun spent 199 days in an unheated basement and was regularly tortured. (Zoya Shu / AP)

Updated on Dec 10, 2019 04:28 PM IST
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Anna Sergeyeva poses for a photo with her daughter in her flat in Kyiv. In May 2014, Sergeyeva was snatched from her apartment in Donetsk by Russia-backed separatists and was being beaten and stabbed for six days before they let her go. Haunted by memories of torture and pain, Sergeyeva had to flee from the only life she knew and start anew — with no place to live, no job and no support from the government. (Zoya Shu / AP)

Anna Sergeyeva poses for a photo with her daughter in her flat in Kyiv. In May 2014, Sergeyeva was snatched from her apartment in Donetsk by Russia-backed separatists and was being beaten and stabbed for six days before they let her go. Haunted by memories of torture and pain, Sergeyeva had to flee from the only life she knew and start anew — with no place to live, no job and no support from the government. (Zoya Shu / AP)

Updated on Dec 10, 2019 04:28 PM IST
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Serhii Zakharov, former resident of Donetsk, poses in his apartment, which he uses as a drawing studio in Kyiv. Zakharov was detained in Donetsk by pro-Russia militias in August 2014, unhappy with his caricatures on them, and continued to draw sketches for the whole month he had spent in captivity. Armed groups from both sides of the conflict held them in underground dungeons and often used them to extort ransom from or somehow leverage the other side. Hundreds of people still remain locked up. (Zoya Shu / AP)

Serhii Zakharov, former resident of Donetsk, poses in his apartment, which he uses as a drawing studio in Kyiv. Zakharov was detained in Donetsk by pro-Russia militias in August 2014, unhappy with his caricatures on them, and continued to draw sketches for the whole month he had spent in captivity. Armed groups from both sides of the conflict held them in underground dungeons and often used them to extort ransom from or somehow leverage the other side. Hundreds of people still remain locked up. (Zoya Shu / AP)

Updated on Dec 10, 2019 04:28 PM IST
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Bogdan Sergiets, former resident of Donetsk, shows a swastika scar on his back. Sergiets was captured by Russia-backed rebels in his workplace in Donetsk, he spent 10 hours in captivity, tortured and beaten, and his captors engraved the swastika on his back. Civilians who went through captivity say that there is effectively no support system for them — once released, they are on their own with their injuries, psychological traumas and financial hardships. (Zoya Shu / AP)

Bogdan Sergiets, former resident of Donetsk, shows a swastika scar on his back. Sergiets was captured by Russia-backed rebels in his workplace in Donetsk, he spent 10 hours in captivity, tortured and beaten, and his captors engraved the swastika on his back. Civilians who went through captivity say that there is effectively no support system for them — once released, they are on their own with their injuries, psychological traumas and financial hardships. (Zoya Shu / AP)

Updated on Dec 10, 2019 04:28 PM IST
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Volodymyr Zhemchugov shows his hand prostheses. Pro-Russian rebels took Zhemchugov captive in the Luhansk region after he was severely injured in a land mine explosion, losing his hands and eyesight. Zhemchugov spent almost a year in detention. Occasionally, Ukrainian authorities offer survivors help with health care and financial support, but aside from standard social benefits for those who served in the military, there aren’t any state programs to help former captives. (Zoya Shu / AP)

Volodymyr Zhemchugov shows his hand prostheses. Pro-Russian rebels took Zhemchugov captive in the Luhansk region after he was severely injured in a land mine explosion, losing his hands and eyesight. Zhemchugov spent almost a year in detention. Occasionally, Ukrainian authorities offer survivors help with health care and financial support, but aside from standard social benefits for those who served in the military, there aren’t any state programs to help former captives. (Zoya Shu / AP)

Updated on Dec 10, 2019 04:28 PM IST
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Tetyana Borisenko, former medical worker for Ukrainian volunteers 'Aydar Battalion', holds the Ukrainian flag she brought to the school in her home in Voznesenske village, Ukraine. Borisenko was captured by Russia-backed separatists in the Luhansk region in September 2015. She was able to secretly keep a Ukrainian flag with signatures of 12 people she was in captivity with for a month. (Zoya Shu / AP)

Tetyana Borisenko, former medical worker for Ukrainian volunteers 'Aydar Battalion', holds the Ukrainian flag she brought to the school in her home in Voznesenske village, Ukraine. Borisenko was captured by Russia-backed separatists in the Luhansk region in September 2015. She was able to secretly keep a Ukrainian flag with signatures of 12 people she was in captivity with for a month. (Zoya Shu / AP)

Updated on Dec 10, 2019 04:28 PM IST
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Dmytro Kluger, looks at a window posing for a photo in his home. Kluger was detained in May 2014 by separatist insurgents in Donetsk and later tried to commit suicide in captivity. For many, helping other former captives is often a way to advance their own recovery. They form support groups, non-governmental organizations and raise money for other survivors. (Zoya Shu / AP)

Dmytro Kluger, looks at a window posing for a photo in his home. Kluger was detained in May 2014 by separatist insurgents in Donetsk and later tried to commit suicide in captivity. For many, helping other former captives is often a way to advance their own recovery. They form support groups, non-governmental organizations and raise money for other survivors. (Zoya Shu / AP)

Updated on Dec 10, 2019 04:28 PM IST
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Tetyana kisses the ashes of her husband goodbye in Kyiv. Tetyana's husband Alexander passed away a year after returning from captivity in the Donetsk region, where he was held by pro-Russian militias in 2018. (Zoya Shu / AP)

Tetyana kisses the ashes of her husband goodbye in Kyiv. Tetyana's husband Alexander passed away a year after returning from captivity in the Donetsk region, where he was held by pro-Russian militias in 2018. (Zoya Shu / AP)

Updated on Dec 10, 2019 04:28 PM IST
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“After captivity everyone who went through this hell became my family,” Anatoly Polyakov, a Russian national who survived 288 days in captivity, said. Soon after he was released, he founded Ukrainian Association of Prisoners of War and dedicated his life to helping former captives. “I consider it my duty to do everything in my power for these people not to feel discriminated against in their own country,” said Polyakov, who has been living in Ukraine since 2013. (Zoya Shu / AP)

“After captivity everyone who went through this hell became my family,” Anatoly Polyakov, a Russian national who survived 288 days in captivity, said. Soon after he was released, he founded Ukrainian Association of Prisoners of War and dedicated his life to helping former captives. “I consider it my duty to do everything in my power for these people not to feel discriminated against in their own country,” said Polyakov, who has been living in Ukraine since 2013. (Zoya Shu / AP)

Updated on Dec 10, 2019 04:28 PM IST
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