NewsUkrainian police officer reunites with family after Russian captivity

Ukrainian police officer reunites with family after Russian captivity

She spent two years in Russian captivity. Now she could finally see her loved ones.
She spent two years in Russian captivity. Now she could finally see her loved ones.
Images source: © X

8:22 AM EDT, June 4, 2024

The 52nd prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia brought freedom to 24-year-old Maryana Checheluk. The police officer spent over two years in Russian captivity, which severely affected her health. The Ukrainian woman shared a moving video showing her reunion with her mother. Tears were plentiful.

Maryana Checheluk was captured by the Russians in 2022. The officer of the National Police of Ukraine was detained by Russians when she and her relatives attempted to use a humanitarian corridor for civilians evacuated from Mariupol. Her parents were allowed to pass, but she and her sister were taken for filtration to the village of Bezymenne (Donetsk region). From there, the young police officer was transferred to a prison in Donetsk.

Her relatives had the opportunity to speak with her over the phone only once. They also received a few letters from her, in which Maryana described the numerous physical and psychological tortures she endured.

She was beaten, mistreated, starved, and humiliated. They threatened to shave her head. In captivity, the girl not only lost weight but also began to have serious health problems. Photos shared on the X platform show how captivity affected the young woman's condition. It seems that the worst is behind her.

Maryana shared a video on social media in which she finally appears to smile. The 24-year-old had waited two long years for this moment. The moving short video shows the moment when she can hug her mother. The girl is unable to hold back tears. At the end, we can see the young police officer finally smiling.

More prisoners from Ukraine return home

In the 52nd prisoner exchange, not only did the 24-year-old police officer return home. Julia Primak from the Regional Center of the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War reported that 37 members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, 21 soldiers of the National Guard, 7 Border Guards, 6 counter-terrorists, and 4 civilians returned home. In total, 70 men and 5 women regained their freedom.

According to information provided by Primak, a third of the prisoners of war were injured, had serious health problems, or were disabled. Unfortunately, the Russians still hold hundreds of Ukrainian men and women.

Approximately 400 Ukrainian women are still held in Russian dungeons. Most of them are civilians, kidnapped in the same manner as Maryana Checheluk. Some have been in captivity for three years. For unknown reasons, Russia is very reluctant to return Ukrainian women, even in exchange for male prisoners of war - Ukrainians report.
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