People story


Story 17: Bohdan

Bohdan, a 35-year-old man who uses a wheelchair, resided in a nursing home in Kakhovka, located in the Kherson region. The facility housed 200 elderly individuals, along with 40 middle-aged men and women with disabilities. During the Russian occupation of Kherson, the original staff of the nursing home managed to keep their jobs. However, after seven months of occupation, in September 2022, the Russian authorities appointed a new staff. The new director made the decision to “relocate” all residents, citing potential dangers. In reality, this was forcible deportation.

Bohdan and the other residents were informed that they were being taken to Russia for safety reasons, with no other options available. Despite protests from the elderly and disabled residents, they were powerless against the occupiers. The group was forcibly loaded onto buses and initially taken to Dzjankoi, a city in Crimea. Upon arrival, Bohdan and the others were transferred to trains bound for Voronezh, Russia. Once in the aggressor’s country, the deported nursing home residents were separated and placed in different facilities.

Bohdan found himself in horrendous conditions. For the first month, he was isolated and cut off from any communication; the staff had confiscated his phone and he had no internet access. Russian officials tried to persuade him to renounce his Ukrainian citizenship in favor of Russian citizenship, but he refused. During his stay in the Voronezh facility, he was bullied numerous times by Russians for being Ukrainian.

After several months, Bohdan was finally granted internet access. Utilizing this, the man managed to contact volunteers who helped him escape from the “captivity” of Russia’s nursing home. The journey was long and arduous, but the volunteers successfully extracted him from the facility and escorted him to the Russian border. Bohdan eventually made it to Norway, where he currently resides. 


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