A Ukrainian man has detailed his harrowing fight for survival after he was allegedly shot in the head and buried alive by Russian soldiers.
Mykola Kulichenko, 33, sat down with CNN to explain how he survived the brutal ordeal.
"It's like being resurrected," Mykola said as he showed reporters his unmarked grave alongside a remote road in the Chernihiv region of northern Ukraine.
Mykola says he and his two brothers, Yevhen and Dmytro, were shot and buried three and a half weeks after Russia launched an invasion into his country.
Their home was targeted by Russian troops on March 18 as they hunted for the Ukrainians responsible for bombing Russian troops nearby.
Kulichenko says they were made to kneel while the invading Russian soldiers searched their house until they found evidence that convinced them that the three brothers were involved.
The evidence found by the Russian soldiers were old military medals that belonged to their grandfather.
They were abducted and taken to a basement, where Mykola said they were tortured for four days.
"They beat my whole body with a metal rod, and they put the barrel of a gun inside my mouth," he said.
On the fourth day, the three men were blindfolded, restrained and loaded into a military vehicle to be taken to an isolated plot of land.
They were made to kneel while a pit was dug and, one by one, they were allegedly shot in the head.
Mykola was lucky as the bullet entered his cheek and exited next to his ear.
He played dead before being thrown into the pit with the bodies of his brothers while the Russians covered them with soil.
"It was hard for me to breathe, since Dima (Dmytro) was lying on top of me, but, using my arms and knees, I was able to push my older brother off to the side of the pit, and then I climbed out," Mykola said.
Yevhen and Dmytro have since been laid to rest in a proper grave on Ukrainian soil.
"I was lucky... and now I have to just go on living," Mykola said.
He added: "This story needs to be heard by everyone, not just in Ukraine, but around the world because these kinds of things are happening and this is just one in a billion."
His story comes as the European Union revealed it was lending assistance to Ukraine to help gather the evidence needed to prosecute Russia for crimes in the international courts.
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.
Featured Image Credit: Suspilne Chernihiv/Ukraine UA/Facebook. CNN.
- Ukrainian Man Run Over By Armoured Vehicle Says He'll Join Army As Soon As He Can Walk Again
- Ukrainian ‘Tank Man’ Trying To Block Russian Convoy Goes Viral
- Russian Entrepreneur Has Put A $1 Million Bounty On Vladimir Putin’s Head
- Captured Russian Soldiers Warn Vladimir Putin They Will 'Rise' Up Against Him