Ukrainian soldier’s before and after photos show Russia’s brutality

Horrifying images of a Ukrainian soldier who spent months in Russian captivity show he is now so emaciated, and doctors can't yet offer him the care he needs.

The images of Mykhailo Dianov were released by Ukraine's Ministry of Defence on social media.

It said he was one of the "lucky ones" as he, unlike other prisoners of war, survived Russian captivity.

"This is how Russia 'adheres' to the Geneva Conventions. This is how Russia continues the shameful legacy of Nazism," the ministry said on Twitter.

Mykhailo Dianov was defending the Azovstal steel plant in May before being captured by Russian forces. On the right he is seen after he was released in a prisoner exchange. Source: @DefenceU
Mykhailo Dianov was defending the Azovstal steel plant in May before being captured by Russian forces. On the right he is seen after he was released in a prisoner exchange. Source: @DefenceU

Dianov is gaunt following his release from captivity. He is emaciated, his upper arm is bent and it appears he has scars on his arm and face.

The Kyiv Independent also shared the shocking photo of Dianov following the exchange, and another before photo of him taken inside the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.

The marine was inside the plant when it came under siege in May this year.

Pictured is Mykhailo Dianov, an Azovstal soldier, gesturing the V-sign after a prisoners of war (POW) exchange, in the Chernihiv region, Ukraine.
Ukrainian soldier Mykhailo Dianov, an Azovstal fighter, was one of more than 200 prisoners of war exchanged. Source: Security Service of Ukraine/AAP

More than 2000 defenders, many in the Azov Regiment, marched out of the Azovstal steel plant's twisted wreckage into Russian captivity in mid-May, ending a nearly three-month siege of the port city of Mariupol.

"Dianov was among the 215 prisoners of war exchanged in a prisoner swap on September 21," the publication said on Twitter.

"Injured during the defence of Mariupol, Dianov wasn't receiving medical care while in Russian captivity, his sister Olena Lavrushko told media on September 23."

The Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, 21 May 2022
The Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol was besieged by Russian forces earlier this year. Source: EPA

Ms Lavrushko says her brother has been taken to the military hospital, but given his frail condition, he needs to gain weight before doctors can operate on him.

"That’s the main thing, because he can’t be operated on in his condition. It could be dangerous for his health," she said according to Ukrainian publication Pravda.

"So he has to recover now and gain strength."

Money is now being raised to help Ms Lavrushko pay for her brother's medical fees.

Putin ally swapped in prisoner trade

In exchange for the 215 Ukrainian fighters who who defended a steel plant in Mariupol during a long Russian siege, one of Vladimir Putin's allies was exchanged earlier in September.

The more than 200 Ukrainians were exchanged for just one man — pro-Russian opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk, who is Ukrainian.

It is believed Russia's president is the godfather to Medvedchuk's youngest daughter.

Just days before Russia's invasion on February 24, Medvedchuk escaped house arrest. He was recaptured in April.

He faced up to life in prison on charges of treason and aiding and abetting a terrorist organisation for mediating coal purchases for the separatist, Russia-backed Donetsk republic in eastern Ukraine.

His detention sparked a heated exchange between officials in Moscow and Kyiv.

With Associated Press

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