At the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, police lieutenant colonel Oleksandr Koretsky was serving in Mariupol. He was captured there, where he stayed for almost 8 months, but after his return he started working again.
According to the National Police, since February 24, 2022, Oleksandr Koretsky worked in Mariupol as part of response groups that fought against looters, took the wounded out of shelling, and delivered food and water to people.
“Once a little boy, maybe 6-7 years old, came up to me. Eyes like an old man’s. And a girl, even smaller, five years old, his sister. They were evacuated from the Left Bank. I had a vitamin pastille in my jacket, and I gave it to them. Well, there was nothing to give them, only this,” recalls the lieutenant colonel.
He met the family of these children, and when he was leaving, the boy caught up with him, took him by the sleeve and said: “Uncle, are you still coming?”.
|Photo: National Police of Ukraine|
“I’ve always thought of myself as a tough guy, but when I get in the car, guys say, ‘What about you? You have tears in your eyes. It’s wrong when children see it, when children die because of it. War is wrong.” – says the man.
In Mariupol, he also saved women in a maternity hospital that Russia dropped a bomb on. He arrived at the hospital 3 minutes after the airstrike.
“I went around this hospital from the 1st to the 3rd floor, looking for the dead and wounded. There were babies, little ones who had just been born, and they had already been taken outside, into the cold. The women were pregnant, wounded. Everyone was very scared. I periodically feel this dream” – remembers the policeman.
Oleksandr Koretsky says that there were no air raids in Mariupol, almost the entire city was in ruins, the Russians systematically destroyed block by block.
“Every about half an hour to an hour, the plane came in. We hear the sound of the engine and understand that there will be two hits. They really liked to do it at night, when people are sleeping. We arrive, we see how the nine-story building is burning. We start whoever we can, rescue, take out, and some 20-30 minutes after the first blow – the second: in the same place.” – said the lieutenant colonel.
On March 16, Oleksandr Koretsky attempted to escape from the encirclement. Then he was captured
“We left, passed several checkpoints, and at the entrance to Berdyansk, there were no longer Russians, but so-called DNR servicemen, who began to check all the men very carefully. They were glad that they caught the lieutenant colonel.” – he recalls.
According to the policeman, prisoners were taken out of their cells every day, in the morning and in the evening.
“Everyone has probably heard how they treat life prisoners. The ribs that were broken grew badly, incorrectly and put pressure on the heart. This is for the rest of my life,” – says the man.
During the interrogations, the representatives of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation asked the policeman if he knew anything about war crimes. He told about the maimed women in childbirth in Mariupol, but the Russians did not want to hear the truth.
Ukraine managed to return Oleksandr Koretsky during the exchange in November 2022. For a year now, he has been serving again at home, in Donetsk region, where he began his career as a young lieutenant.
Currently, the lieutenant colonel is the deputy head of the Department of Preventive Activities of the GUNP in the Donetsk region and takes care of the safety of policemen at checkpoints.
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