On March 12th, Ukrainian journalist Oleh Baturin was kidnapped by Russian forces in Kherson.
The journalist was contacted by a man claiming to be activist Serhiy Tsygipa, she said that “I really need to see you, I'm ready to get to Kakhovka”.
They agreed to meet at a bus station at 5pm, where soon after arriving was kidnapped by Russian forces.
For a week he was held captive and malnourished, he was also tortured by an interrogator.
He describes his captivity as follows:
“The Russian soldiers told me to get on my knees as they captured me, knocking me to the ground, and hand cuffing me.
During the van ride to where I was kept, I endured rifle butts to the face and chest.
They demanded to see my ID, where my phone was, and who I was.
I had warned my family about where I was going and who I was meeting with, I left my ID and phone at home in case I was captured.
During the first round of interrogations, my interrogator said that they were looking for me and they wanted revenge on journalists like myself.
They'd torture me, threatened to mutilate me, threatened to rape me, threatened to kill my family, threatened to kill me, and asked a bunch of stupid questions.
Who are the organizers of pro-Ukraine rallies in Kherson?
Who runs the Telegram channels?
Where are the guns stashed for Ukrainian guerrilla fighters?
Where Is Volodymyr Zelensky?
Do you have activists and journalists from Belarus and Russia?
The Russian invaders have five goals: To break down the civilians of Ukraine, To intimidate them, destroy independent journalism, reintegrate Ukraine into Russia, and to crush civil activists physically and psychologically.
Under duress and the threat of being shot, I signed a document that stated I would cooperate with the Russian Federation.
That same night I was relocated to the old Nova Kakhovka police station, where I was beaten and tied to a radiator with a chain.
The following morning I was taken along with other political prisoners to the city hall, I was convinced that they'd have us dig our own graves and the shoot us.
After driving for what seemed like two hours, we arrived and it was converted into a forward operating base.
Then I heard a familiar voice, it was Tsygipa, he too was kidnapped by the Russians.
During the new round of interrogations, which was more professional than the last couple of torture sessions, my new interrogator was an FSB agent.
He asked me the same questions as before but I didn't budge, it got to the point where the FSB agent was shaking due to the pent up stress and anger.
Over the next few days I was locked away, and other prisoners were brought it, most were Ukrainian soldiers who had been fighting in Dontesk and Luhansk.
I could here them crying in pain as they were beaten and tortured.
My own interrogations became more random and conducted by different people, the guards would make rounds and asked if you were ok, if you said no then you'd be beaten”.
On the 18th of March, I was fingerprinted, had a mugshot taken, and blood taken to catalog my DNA.
On March 20th, they told me I was going home.
When they threw me out the van by the front lines, I ran for the Ukrainian side yelling not to shoot.
And when they asked what happened to me, I told them everything”.
Oleh's story is sadly very common as journalists are kidnapped and tortured by Russian forces to get information.