Ukrainian survived being shot in the face and buried alive before walking away

A Ukrainian villager seized by Russian troops was shot in the face, bound by the hands and feet, thrown into a grave with his eyes covered alongside his brother but lived to tell the tale.

Mykola Kulichenko, from the village of Vyshneve, just outside Kyiv in the Bucha Raion of Kyiv Oblast, was chucked into a grave alongside his older brother on March 18, with Vladimir Putin's forces believing he was dead.

He and his two brothers were at home when the house was raided, with the invading troops growing irate when they saw that Mykola's brother Eugene had served in the Ukrainian Army and that the brother's grandfather's war medals were on display.

"This was the reason for future torture and execution," Mykola told a news crew.

The trio were shot, with Mykola's two brothers dying instantly. Their sister Iryna escaped because she was in a neighbour's house at the time.

"Slam! And the blood flowed through my body," he said of the moment the bullet hit his face after the brothers were hauled to an old saw mill to be executed.

The bullet entered through his cheek on the right hand side of his face, before bursting out through the soft tissue under his right ear.

He continued, explaining how he escaped the hole, occupied also by the body of his dead brother Dima, saying: "I pushed Dima out by myself. I got out and Dima fell in my place."

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The brothers were kept in the sawmill for three days of interrogation before being taken outside to be executed.

Eugene was shot first and thrown into one grave dug by the Russians. Dima followed, but was not immediately put into the makeshift resting place.

"And then when they shot at me, they did that [kicked him into the grave] to me, they pushed me and I fell, and my older brother was thrown on top of me," he said.

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Miraculously, he survived. Mykola pushed himself out of the grave and walked to the nearest village, past a Russian checkpoint.

He was helped by an elderly resident called Valentine, who said: "I saw that he was beaten, bruised and all covered in earth. I invited him to the house where he washed and had breakfast, and I gave him some food to take with him."

"We always hug when we meet," Mykola said of Valentine.

After he left the Good Samaritan's house, he walked forty kilometres, nearly 25 miles, to his own village where he finally saw a doctor.

Mykola suffered two broken ribs but the bullet to the face didn't affect any vital organs, and his wounds have now healed, but he will always bear the scars.

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