Despite the captivity I felt free, says ex-spokeswoman of the Donetsk border detachment
Former prisoner of war, Azov Regiment paramedic, Valeria "Nava" Subotina-Karpylenko from Mariupol believes that in Russia, they, the captive men and women, felt like they were the freest people there despite being prisoners. She spoke about this in her interview with Radio Liberty.
"The word 'freedom' is encrypted in our trident. I have it tattooed on me, and it was always with me. I constantly looked at it, read this word in it, and thought that my freedom was with me. I would say that when we were in Russia, we were the freest people there, despite being prisoners," Valeria Subotina-Karpylenko said.
She recalled the occupiers trying to break her psychologically.
"As I walked bent over (I had to walk like that for almost a year) they would say: 'So how was that saying? Ukraine cannot be bent?' I would say: 'No. Ukraine cannot be broken.' Because we are really made of steel. Not only us (the soldiers, the POWs. – Ed.), but also the Ukrainians fighting for Ukraine," said Valeria Karpylenko.
According to her, in captivity, she was filled with anticipation of meeting the parents of her late husband, whose body the occupiers have not yet given back.
As IMI reported, the ex-spokeswoman of the Donetsk border detachment, Azov Regiment paramedic Valeria "Nava" Karpylenko-Subotina was among the 100 Ukrainian soldiers released from captivity on April 10, 2023.
During the battles for Mariupol, Valeria was reporting on Facebook about what was happening at Azovstal and the working conditions the medics were facing.
Valeria Karpylenko is a writer, Azovstal defender, formerly a professor at the Mariupol State University, has a PhD in social communications.
On May 5, 2022, at Azovstal, she married her beloved – border guard Andriy Subotin. They exchanged wedding rings made of tin foil.
Andriy died on May 7, 2022. On May 17, 2022, as the Ukrainian army was withdrawing from Azovstal, Valeria was taken prisoner.
For a long time, Valeria's relatives knew little to nothing about her fate. In May 2022, President Volodymyr Zelensky awarded Captain Valeria Karpylenko with the medal "For Military Service to Ukraine".
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