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"They lost 40kg of weight": photographers post pictures of Ukrainian soldiers after Russian captivity

Monday, 17 June 2024, 14:33
They lost 40kg of weight: photographers post pictures of Ukrainian soldiers after Russian captivity
Ukrainian defenders released from Russian captivity took part in a photo shoot. Photo: LIBKOS/INSTAGRAM

Photographers Kostiantyn and Vlada Liberovs have posted photos of Ukrainian soldiers liberated from Russian captivity.

The photographers stressed that the pictures taken in the rehabilitation centre are being released with the permission of the defenders themselves.

The Liberovs sent some of these photos to the Peace Summit in Switzerland, where prisoner-of-war (POW) swaps were discussed.

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"It was our most challenging shoot in the last six months. After meeting and talking to the guys, we couldn't recover from what we had seen and heard for a week. We are posting this footage with the guys' permission.

I remember one of them telling me that we must do everything we can to ensure this never happens again, [never happens] to others. But it happens every day," the photographers wrote.

 
All photos: Kostiantyn and Vlada Liberovs
 

The photographers say the Ukrainian soldiers lost 40-50kg of weight during their stay in Russian torture chambers. At present, rehabilitators and psychologists are working with the soldiers.

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"We cannot retell what we heard from the guys. But these photos speak for themselves. And this is despite the fact that the guys had gained 10kg of weight in a week at home by the time we met.

 

To understand what it means to lose 40-50 kg of weight (which is how much they lost during captivity), look at the pictures where the guys show their photos before captivity. But what is important is that [the Russians] failed to break them. And each of them repeated it: I was not broken," the photographers wrote.

 
 

In conclusion, the Liberovs mentioned that thousands of Ukrainians are being held captive by Russia and expressed hope that Ukraine's international partners would act more decisively on the issue of POW swaps.

"We spoke to doctors at the rehabilitation centre where the guys were staying at the time of our meeting. They said that most survivors of captivity come down over time. The first few weeks back in their homeland are marked by euphoria from the realisation that they survived," added Kostiantyn and Vlada.

 
 
 

Background: 

  • On 31 May 2024, the 52nd POW swap took place, during which Ukraine liberated 75 of its citizens. In particular, Azov soldier Nataliia Manuilova and police officer Mariana Checheliuk, who had been in captivity for more than two years, were brought back home. About 1,500 defenders of Mariupol are still in Russian captivity.
  • In October 2022, the Liberovs released the first photos of Azov soldiers Mykola "Frost" Kushch, and Dmytro "Orest" Kozatskyi, after the men were released from captivity.

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