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Blinken visits Yahidne, where Russian troops held hundreds of Ukrainians captive

Blinken Yahidne
Antony Blinken visited Yahidne in the Chernihiv Oblast (northern Ukraine) on 7 September 2023. Credit: Getty Images.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited the village of Yahidne in the Chernihiv Oblast (northern Ukraine), where Russian troops held several hundred Ukrainian civilians in a school basement for almost a month in 2022, the European Pravda reported.

The US Secretary of State stressed that the Russian army continues to commit atrocities on the territory of Ukraine, and Yahidne is a part of the bigger picture. Antony Blinken recalled yesterday’s missile attack on Kostiantynivka in the Donetsk Oblast, which killed 16 civilians.

“It all comes down to the human dimension, the lives, the stories of men, women, and children – like the men, women, and children who are imprisoned in the basement of this building next to us… And this is just one building in one village, in one community in Ukraine, and it’s a story we’ve seen over and over and over again,” Blinken said.

Blinken praised the resilience of the Ukrainian people and promised the the US would continue to support Ukraine, “especially in the face of Russia’s aggression.”

“Ukrainians are coming together to defuse the ammunition and mines and rebuild everything, literally take back the land that was taken from them. We are very proud to be partners with Ukraine in all of these efforts,” Blinken said during his trip to Yahidne.

The Russian army occupied Yahidne in March 2022. When Russian troops entered the village, they drove the entire population of the village (men, women, and children) out of their homes at gunpoint and took them to the basement of the local school, where they held the Ukrainians for almost four weeks. For 28 days, from 3 March to 31 March 2022, 370 people, including 70 children and the elderly, were held in the school basement. Nobody was allowed to go out. During the Russian occupation, ten people died in the school basement.

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