Date of disappearance: March 4, 2022
Place of disappearance: Mykhailo-Kotsiubynske village, Chernihiv region
Leaving the large city of Chernihiv, in northern Ukraine, close to the border with Belarus, for a small village last February, 25-year-old Mykyta Buzinov thought he would be safe. The day before, Russia had invaded Ukraine and occupied the territory. For the first few days, he and his family stayed in the quiet village of Mykhailo-Kotsiubynske, 20 kilometers from the city. But the peace did not last long. The Russians got there too, occupying the village. When the Ukrainian military destroyed several enemy columns, the occupiers began abducting civilians, looking for those who could communicate with the Ukrainian military.
Mykyta worked as an ordinary driver and had nothing to do with the army. So he didn’t think his family could be of interest to the Russian army. But on March 4, enemy soldiers came to the Buzinovs’ house.
The whole family was home: mother, uncle, brother, and Mykyta’s fiancée Kateryna. People were taken outside, and their phones were taken away. And then the horror began. Mykyta was stripped naked to check for tattoos and weapon marks on his body. The Russians pointed machine guns at the boy and his brother. The military shouted that they had found maps in his brother’s phone. And they accused Mykyta himself of allegedly transmitting some data. To intimidate people, the Russians even imitated an execution: they took Mykyta behind a barn and started shooting. The boy’s mother went through hell because she did not know if her child was alive.
Later, his fiancée Kateryna was forced to kneel next to Mykyta. They also pointed a gun at the girl. They put psychological pressure on her and threatened to kill her beloved right before Kateryna.
Finally, the military left, but took Mykyta with them. The family had no idea where to look for him. She hoped that the boy would return the next day, but time passed, and there was no news of her son and her beloved.
After the village was liberated, the Buzinov family learned that a local resident, whom the Russians had also abducted on March 4, was found tortured: after days of beatings, he had been shot in the head. Everyone was afraid that Nikita would not suffer the same fate. His mother took DNA samples. Months passed, but the family received no matches. The boy was not among the dead.
Finally, nine months after his abduction, he received news that he might be held in the Russian city of Belgorod. A lawyer hired by his relatives went to the city, but received a reply saying that there was no Nikita Buzinov in the Belgorod detention center. Later, another message came: a man with that name had been “released” from the local prison.
So the family hopes the guy is still alive and in Russian custody. And one day, he will return home.