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Zelenskyy, together with CoE Secretary General, Vice Chancellor of Germany visit Yahidne, where invaders tortured local residents

KYIV. Apr 3 (Interfax-Ukraine) – On Monday, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the crime scenes of the Russian occupiers in the village of Yahidne, Chernihiv region, the press service of the President’s Office reports.

“During a working trip to Chernihiv region, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, together with Vice Chancellor, Minister of Economy and Climate Protection of Germany Robert Habeck and Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić examined the consequences of the occupation of the village of Yahidne by Russian troops and the war crimes they committed,” the message says.

The Head of State, together with foreign guests, visited a school in the basement of which, from the third to the thirtieth of March 2022, the occupiers kept 367 civilians in unsanitary conditions, without water and food. There were 50 children among the hostages, including several infants – the youngest was one and a half months old. Eleven people died, unable to withstand the inhumane conditions. Ten were shot by the Russian occupiers.

The President of Ukraine and the European guests talked with the villagers who were held in the basement of the school. “Thank you for surviving, for being able to wait for our soldiers and tell the whole world about the tragedy that the Russian Federation, the Russian military, together with their leadership, their president, brought to our land,” Zelenskyy stressed.

The Head of State noted that the residents of Yahidne had experienced terrible trials. According to him, about 400 people lived in this village before the occupation, and almost 370 people were kept in a school basement with an area of less than 200 square meters.

“They were in the basement for 27 days. Survived – standing and sitting. Eleven people, unfortunately, died. And all these people somehow lived in darkness and waited for the return of Ukraine,” he said.

The President said that the prisoners in the dark wrote on the walls the names and dates of death of fellow villagers, so as not to forget. And the children wrote the lines of the anthem of Ukraine. “It is very important that these people survived. It is very important that every day our troops de-occupy settlements where there are real heroes,” Zelenskyy added.

The Head of State noted the importance of the presence of representatives of our partners in the liberated territories of Ukraine, who can see everything with their own eyes. “It is important to be in such basements to understand, to help Ukraine. Think about how to find a way to talk to the Russian Federation,” the president said.

Zelenskyy also thanked local residents and authorities who fought for their lives every day during the Russian occupation. As a result of the military aggression, all 173 farmsteads in the village of Yahidne were damaged, 16 of them were destroyed.

In addition, objects of communal property were destroyed – a cultural building and a paramedic station. The school building was significantly destroyed. According to head of Chernihiv Regional Military Administration Vyacheslav Chaus, over the past year, thanks to funding from the state and regional budgets, thanks to volunteers, the Government of Latvia, which allocated funds for construction materials and the restoration of homes, repaired more than 100 homes.