The moment Mykhailo Orlovskyi was taken by Russian forces was captured on his own dashcam.

He can be seen chased by soldiers on top of an armored vehicle, arms in the air.

At this point, a Russian soldier was driving Mykhailo’s car – which captured the arrest in real time.

“The first thing I thought about was how to survive. The second thing was I was going to die,” he told Sky News.

His dashcam footage was later released in Russia and posted online by a Russian journalist.

The attack was captured on Mykhailo Orlovskyi’s dashcam

After his arrest, he describes how he was stripped of his clothes and glasses and taken to a thick wooded area.

“They beat us in the forest, started interrogating us, then tied us up and threw us in a pit where they kept us for two days,” he told us.

It was March 7 – and it was very cold.

“They threw a jacket at me, which they then tied up. I was just wearing a jacket and sweatpants, and that was it. But thank God the jacket at least had a hood.

“At the bottom, cardboard was thrown into the pit, and there were also two boxes to sit on.”

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Mykhailo was a civilian taxi driver but had helped the Ukrainian army as a volunteer.

After two days in the hole in the forest, he was transported by helicopter to a prison in Kursk, Russia.

“We were moved from office to office, from interrogation to interrogation.

“We constantly had to sign documents, we were interrogated, we were beaten.

“Everything lasted about six hours. They took us to a separate room, where they beat us with boxing gloves on the kidneys, liver, ribs, neck and legs.

“They also used a stun gun. They hit us so hard.”

Mykhailo Orlovskyi, arrested by Russian forces and forced to spend a month in jail beating, talks to Sky's Sally Lockwood
Mykhailo Orlovskyi talks to Sky’s Sally Lockwood

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It describes how the prisoners, male and female, all had their heads shaved, their blood samples, DNA and fingerprints taken.

“They took my phone and even my wedding ring,” he said. “They took all my documents…passport, driver’s license. It’s all still with them.”

Nearly 500 Ukrainian civilians are currently in Russian prisons.

Mykhailo remained inside for a total of four weeks before being exchanged in a prisoner exchange in April.

While incarcerated, he was made to sing the Russian national anthem which was played on repeat.

“There was a radio, a loudspeaker hanging on the door. And when the anthem was played, and it played about 10 to 15 times a day, we had to line up and sing the anthem of the Russian Federation. “

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during this time at Ukraine, Mykhailo’s family was sick with worry about what had happened to him. After two weeks, they finally found a Russian mugshot taken after his arrest that had been posted online.

When Mykhailo learned that he was going to be exchanged in a prisoner exchange, he sobbed during the three-hour drive to the border. It was April 10 – her mother’s birthday.

“I called her and told her that everything was fine with me, that I am alive and well. I remember her tears of joy. She was happy that God gave her such a gift for her birthday. “

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Remembering this, he bursts into tears and has to stop.

He ended up continuing: “A very difficult moment was when I was talking to my brother and he told me that there was a moment when he thought that I was already dead, that I was no longer there. . It’s hard even now.”

Still in process

Mykhailo has since returned to where he was taken. His belongings were still lying on the floor – his glasses case, his AirPods, his business cards.

He also found his Mercedes car – now completely burnt out but the serial number was still visible.

Without his car, he lost his livelihood. It is clear that starting from scratch financially weighs heavily on him.

That, added to the heartbreaking ordeal that it’s clear he’s still dealing with.

But he managed to escape with an important message to the world about the horrors for Ukrainian civilians held in Russia.

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