Friday, May 13, 2022

The Ukrainian survived a shot in the face and was buried alive – before he got to safety

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Mykola Kulichenko, who hails from near Kyiv in Bucha Raion in Kyiv Oblast, was thrown into a grave along with his older brother on March 18, with Vladimir Putin’s forces believing him dead

A Ukrainian villager seized by Russian troops was shot in the face, bound hand and foot, thrown in a grave next to his brother with his eyes closed, but survived to tell the story.

Mykola Kulichenko, from the village of Vyshneve, just outside Kyiv in Kyiv Oblast’s Bucha Raion, was thrown into a grave along with his older brother on March 18, with Vladimir Putin’s forces believing him dead.

He and his two brothers were at home when the house was raided, and the invading troops became furious when they saw that Mykola’s brother Eugene had served in the Ukrainian army and that the brother’s grandfather’s war medals were on display.

“That was the reason for future torture and executions,” Mykola told a news team.

The trio were shot dead, with Mykola’s two brothers dying instantly. Her sister Iryna fled because she was staying at a neighbor’s house at the time.

“Slam! And the blood flowed through my body,” he said of the moment the bullet hit his face after the brothers were dragged to an old sawmill to be executed.

The bullet entered through his cheek on the right side of his face before erupting through the soft tissue under his right ear.

He continued, explaining how he escaped from the hole also occupied by the corpse of his dead brother Dima, saying: “I pushed Dima out on my own. I got out and Dima fell in my place.”

The brothers were held at the sawmill for interrogation for three days before being taken outside to be executed.

Eugene was shot first and thrown into a grave dug by the Russians. Dima followed, but was not immediately taken to the temporary resting place.

“And then when they shot me, that’s what they did [kicked him into the grave] to me, they pushed me and I fell and my older brother was thrown at me,” he said.

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Miraculously, he survived. Mykola pushed himself out of the grave and went to the nearest village, past a Russian checkpoint.

An elderly resident named Valentine helped him, saying, “I saw that he was beaten, bruised and covered in dirt. I invited him into the house, where he washed and had breakfast, and I gave him something to eat with him.”

“We always hug when we meet,” Mykola said of Valentine.

After leaving the Good Samaritan’s home, he walked forty kilometers, nearly 25 miles, to his own village, where he finally sought medical attention.

Mykola suffered two broken ribs but the bullet to the face didn’t affect any vital organs and his wounds have now healed but he will always carry the scars.

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