People story

Story 17: Bohdan

Bohdan, a 35-year-old man on a wheelchair, was deported to Russia by Russian occupation authorities against his will, but he was able to get away.

Bohdan was a resident of a nursing home in Kakhovka, Kherson Region. There were 200 elderly people living with 40 middle-aged disabled men and women. When Kherson was under Russian occupation, the staff of the nursing house were able to remain at their workplaces. But after 7 months of occupation, Russians appointed new staff. They made the immediate decision to deport the residents of the nursing house.

Bohdan and others were told they were taken to Russia. The elderly and disabled people protested, but were helpless against the occupiers. They were taken by buses first to Jankoy, a city in Crimea. Bohdan and others were then transferred to trains headed for Voronezh, Russia. Upon arrival, the deported residents of the nursing house were separated and taken to different establishments.

There were terrible conditions in the place where Bohdan was staying. The man was isolated for the first month in Russia, without a connection via phone or the internet. He was forced to give up his Ukrainian residence and take Russian, but he refused. Bohdan was bullied numerous times by Russians for being Ukrainian..

Eventually, Bohdan managed to contact volunteers to help him escape the captivity. It was a long and hard way, but the volunteers freed the man from the nursing house he was staying in and traveled with him to Russia’s border. Bohdan ended up in Norway, where he stays now.


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