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Ruslana Nutsa Captured by Russia – Testifies to Torture

The conflict between Ukraine and Russia has been ongoing for seventeen months, and it has taken a toll on the Ukrainian military medics on the frontlines. 26-year-old Ruslana Nutsa is one such medic, who has recently visited Sweden – with the help of the charity organization Repower – to take a break from the war and process her traumatic experiences.

When Russia invaded Ukraine, Ruslana was in Mariupol, working as a military nurse for two years and part of Ukraine’s 36th Marine Brigade. The city would become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance. She recounts her unit’s struggles and their eventual capture, along with the terrible torture she and other female prisoners endured.

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Released in an exchange between Ukraine and Russia in October 2022, Ruslana’s frustration lingers at the lack of attention paid to those still incarcerated. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has expressed gratitude for those who made the exchange possible, but Ruslana’s wounds are far from healed.

A Medics Struggle: Vitaliy’s Fight and Frustration on the Frontlines

33-year-old Vitaliy Novitsky, a military medic at the front in Kreminna in the Luhansk region, has also felt the weight of the conflict. Though he considers himself lucky so far, he knows that luck may not last. Vitaliy expresses his frustration at how people romanticize war without acknowledging its true cost – human lives – which he feels has lost value during this conflict.

During his break in Sweden, Vitaliy met his family for the first time in five years, as his mother had remained in Crimea after Russian annexation. He dreams of his family returning to their homeland once the war ends.

Recovery and Hope: Healing Away from the Battlefield

Both Ruslana and Vitaliy have been deeply affected by their experiences in this conflict, and it will take time for them to heal from their trauma. However, they remain strong and resilient in the face of adversity.

With the support of Repower and other organizations, these brave medics are able to take some much-needed rest and recovery time away from the battlefields – even if it’s only for a few days. Their stories are a vivid reminder of the human costs of war, and the critical importance of support and healing for those who have suffered on the front lines.

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