Tortured and then shot in the head: the poignant story of a spotter from Chernihiv region
Yuri was a worthy person and a real man, a friend recalls/Photo: N. Naydyuk
On March 30, 2022, Tatyana Dudchenko learned that a few days ago, Russian invaders brought the body of an unknown man to a lake in the village of Terekhovka in the Chernihiv region, a few kilometers from her house. “If only it wasn't for Yura… The neighbor didn't recognize him,” the woman warmed hope in her heart all the way.
Her beloved Yuri Mustipan left home 11 days ago and disappeared . With every step, hope waned. Until she died completely when the woman saw the bloody face of the deceased.
The editors of “Memorial” prepared the story of the life and death of Yuri Mustipan. The deceased resident of the village of Terekhovka near Chernigov, who was posthumously awarded the medal “For assistance to the Armed Forces of Ukraine” on April 24.
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Fair, helpful and cheerful
Yuri Mustipan is remembered by relatives and friends as a good and cheerful person. He was born in Chernigov on September 5, 1975. Ordinary family: father, mother, older brother. Before the army he worked as a postman. After military service, he remained to serve as an ensign. He married and became the father of two sons. In 2004, the military was reduced. Therefore, Yuri changed his profession: he went to work as a taxi driver, and then a minibus.
Photo from the service/From the family archive of Nikolai Mustipan
“Yura's feelings of justice and responsibility have been heightened since childhood. He transferred them into adulthood. When he worked as a driver and at a minibus there were malfunctions – he refused to leave. He thought it was dangerous for passengers. Of course, the owners did not like this, who did not want downtime,” Nikolai Grigoryevich Mustipan begins a conversation about his son.
In the Chernihiv apartment where Yury grew up, there is perfect order: services, vases are carefully arranged, photos and icons are on the shelves. Papa Nikolai Grigorievich lives by himself. My wife has been working in Italy for many years, rarely comes. In 2011, the man suffered a stroke. But he did not want to move to another country: children, grandchildren, friends, all life are here.
them money. He was always cheerful and smiling. If only you knew how the children loved him for it,” Nikolai Grigoryevich says touchingly and nods at the photo. “Look, what a smile. That’s how I remember him, then we saw each other for the last time, this photo was taken four days before his death.< /p>
Last photo during Yuri Mustipan's lifetime. On March 20, this picture was taken by Yuri's friend. From the family archive
Portraits of Yury in his parents' apartment
The same portrait stands in Terekhovka, in the kitchen of the house where Yury lived with his wife Tatyana. On the other shelf is Yuriy's posthumous award – the medal “For Assistance to the Armed Forces of Ukraine”. Tatyana demonstrates it with a mixed sense of pride and sadness. Adds that there is a mistake in the last name, you need to write through “and”.
The couple bought a house in Terekhovka 8 years ago in order to someday meet old age here. It is beautiful and spacious. Behind the red-brown fence, the dogs Bonya, Naida and Zhorik bark loudly. Chickens are walking by the gate.
“The house is a lifelong work. Yura rebuilt it for us. Much has already been done, but there were still plans … Here, his hands touched everything: the fence, the ceilings, the stairs to the attic – he did everything. This year he will give birth profusely in the garden his peach. And he transplanted these roses after me, said that I did it poorly, it must be wrong. I still don’t believe that he is no more. It seems that he just left for work and is about to return, “- with tears on Tatiana speaks in her eyes.
“While there was coffee, he brewed it for all of us on the stove”
February 24, Tatiana and Yury were supposed to go to Chernihiv. She is in a children's hospital where she works as a pediatrician. And Yuri – on the route. But they were awakened by explosions near Chernigov. In a working viber chat, they wrote: do not go to work, wait for a separate order.
“I could not believe my eyes, even when the tanks were driving through the village. And Yura immediately said: they will be here for a month and a week. And so it happened (the Russians left the territory of the region on April 1 and 2. – Ed.). He somehow I knew how to analyze everything, I'm not like that,” Tatyana sighs.
First, the couple prepared the cellar. Yura put benches there, Tatiana laid out old jackets and coats, brought some water and food.
In the evening, friends of the family came to the house – Irina and Kostya Slivko with two one-year-old twin children – who live on the same street. We decided that we would survive the occupation together. A couple of nights people spent in a cold basement. And then we went into the house: it is warmer for the children there, and the cellar is not a very reliable shelter.
Both Yura and Tatyana are trouble-free kind people. You can always rely on them. They helped us out a lot and helped with the children, they called us during the war, – says Irina Slivko. . They also entered Tatyana's house, but they did not touch either women or men.
“We didn’t have electricity or gas from the very first days. They heated the stove, and cooked on it. Yura brewed coffee for us every morning while it was still there. I’ve never tasted anything tastier in my life,” recalls Tatyana.
At first, Yuri was optimistic. But when the connection disappeared after a few weeks, he became angry, not like himself. Yuri's sons from his first marriage were in the army. And he could not help in any way, to tell where the enemy was. The feeling of helplessness haunted him. Only the Slivko twins were a consolation.
Irina and Konstantin Slivko, who lived in house of Yuri and Tatyana
“Yura did not have a soul in my guys. He would sit down, the kids would climb on his knees, and he would tell something. He called them “my friends.” He was a good friend and a kind person. Anyone in the village will confirm this to you,” I’m sure Kostya Slivko.
I went to Chernihiv to pass the coordinates and take food and diapers to the children
On the afternoon of 19 March Yuri went to the neighbors to help fix the generator and radio. Before leaving, he said: “I'll be there soon.” A few hours later, a neighbor came to Tatyana and said that Yura went through the field to Chernigov.
“Here’s what to do, how to look for him … I couldn’t call him or my relatives in Chernigov, there was no connection. I was very worried. But I also believed that he would reach the city. Yura was a topographer in the army, he was well versed in the area. He he was very smart,” Tatyana explains.
Yuri reached Chernigov. I met my father in the evening of the same day. Said he had traveled such a perilous path to see his family. Chernihiv was then often shelled from artillery and aviation. And also – he planned to personally transfer the coordinates where the enemy is standing, because by phone it was no longer possible. But there was a third reason – the children of Slivko. We ran out of diapers and baby food.
Yuri met with the military the next day. But I didn’t manage to see my son: I didn’t find where his unit was. Therefore, I packed things for the kids and went home on March 20.
“I dissuaded him, I said: it’s getting evening, spend the night and go in the morning. I didn’t listen. He asked: leave your smartphone here, take a push-button, you can also transmit coordinates on it, as soon as you find a connection. He didn’t want to. to convince … He said: we must go, there are children without normal food, without diapers. He was worried that his wife would worry because she didn’t know where he was. That’s how he put on two backpacks, fastened diapers on his sleeves. my heart skipped a beat. I felt something bad,” says the father about the last meeting with his son.
That evening, Yuri saw his friend. He took the last photo, which today stands in the homes of people who loved him.
What happened next is not exactly known. Here is how we managed to reproduce the events according to relatives and local residents.
At one of the checkpoints near Terekhovka, Russians stopped Yura. Those who entered the village were first interrogated by the FSB officers, kept in a “cell” and released if they did not see a threat. It was necessary to wait for the interrogation until the morning, so Yuri spent the night with the invaders at the checkpoint. On the morning of March 21, the mother from Italy got through to the man.
Yura told her that everything was fine. Soon a car from the FSB was supposed to pick him up and take him to the headquarters in Terekhovka for interrogation. But he did not finish, the phone was taken away, – Tatyana retells the story of her mother-in-law.
Around this time, a neighbor went to the local farm to feed the animals. He learned that Mustipan was at the checkpoint. The guards said that they would hold Yura for fear for 2-3 days and then let him go. Returning to his street, the man informed Tatyana about this. The woman calmed down a little.
But five days passed, and Yura still did not come. Therefore, on March 29, Tatyana, together with her neighbor, ventured to go to the Russians. Women were not allowed into the headquarters where the general was rumored to live.
Tatyana and her neighbor went to the village council, where the invaders were also sitting. Russian military officer Vova Kuptsov said that he had not heard anything about the prisoner. He promised to find out and ordered to come the next day. But the next day the women missed Kuptsov. At the same time, they learned that on March 24, the Russians threw out the “body of a Ukrainian saboteur” near the lake. And although none of the locals recognized him, Tatyana nevertheless decided to go and see.
“He was lying in the position he always slept in. I approached. There was a pool of blood under the body. A shot through the head. God, how they tortured him … His face was beaten beyond recognition. But it was Yura, my Yura. I recognized him. I stood and could not believe my eyes. As if she was dumbfounded. There was a package nearby, tape was wrapped around her head clearly … Then everything was as if not with me, as if in a fog, “the woman cries, recalling the experience.
Then there were trips to the invaders for permission to take the body, the search for a coffin, an early funeral. The very next day, the Russian military left Terekhovka. When the Ukrainian military and special services entered the village, the body had to be exhumed in order to conduct a forensic medical examination. In conclusion, they will write: death occurred on March 24 due to a through wound to the head.
The dogs are still waiting for the owner
Nikolai Grigorievich is sure that one of the locals betrayed his son.
“They say, they say, in they found something on his phone. I don’t believe it. Yura was a smart man, a former military man. He wouldn’t have kept something there that could compromise him. Everyone knew that phones were being checked,” Nikolai Grigorievich is convinced.
A local resident subsequently asked the Russians at the checkpoint why Yury was not released for so long. To which they replied: they found something on the phone. Tatyana also wants to know the truth about the death of her beloved. Believe it will help you calm down. After all, over time, the pain does not subside.
“It seems to me that in the early days I didn’t feel the pain of loss as much as today. Maybe adrenaline, stress. And now … When I think about his last days … He was always so cheerful, positive. And how he was in that cellar or where they kept him… There was no living place left on his face… Sometimes I think: maybe I should have run after him to that field, not to let him into Chernigov… Or go to the Russians earlier… But you won’t return anything… Life is not a book, you can’t turn the pages,” Tatyana repeats like a mantra.
Nikolai Grigorievich came to Terekhovka for 40 days after the death of his son. I sat silently and listened to what people were saying about Yura.
“What can I say, they respected him. He was a worthy person and a real man. I remember, at our last meeting, he told how, on his tip, the Armed Forces of Ukraine broke the equipment of the Russians across the river, almost opposite the house. He so wanted the occupiers to get out of Ukraine as soon as possible. He was my son. And I love him very much,” says the father.
Now there are three dogs left in the house where Tatyana planned to live out her life with her beloved. It seems that they are still waiting for the owner, reacting to every sound of a car passing by the gate.
“Nida was very afraid of the shots, she was always the first to hide under the sofa. When Yura disappeared, she also disappeared for three days. I later compared it, it was just at that time that he was tortured and killed. I gave Yura’s car to my eldest son, Igor. You should have seen how Bonya whined when he came to the wake. Apparently, she thought it was Yura. He always brought her tasty treats, “says the woman.
Tatiana shows Yury's favorite place< /p>
Across the road from Tatyana's house is a flimsy wooden bridge across the muddy river Zamglai, strewn with duckweed. A few more meters of thickets – and a green meadow stretches. Behind him is a forest where the equipment of the invaders stood. Now the weeds have hidden the remains of shells, packs of dry rations and other debris left by the enemies.
Here the couple met the dawn
“Here the sun rises from the right. “It's beautiful here at dawn. Now it's so calm, you look like that and you can't believe that hell was here three months ago… Yura loved this place very much. But this spring he didn't see it. And for me, it's as if it didn't exist,” – says Tatyana and peers into the distance, as if waiting …
Author: Natalia Naydyuk