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Lost 45 kilograms and was beaten for being tall: Ukrainian 3x3 basketball champion returned from Russian captivity

Oleksandr ChekanovNews
Zavatskyi was held in captivity for 21 months

Earlier this year, on January 3, Ukraine returned 230 military and civilians from Russian captivity with the mediation of the United Arab Emirates. This is the largest exchange since the full-scale invasion.

Basketball player Borys Zavatskyi is among those returned to his native land. He is known primarily for his performances in the Kharkiv amateur basketball league, but he also has achievements in professional basketball. In the early 2000s, Borys Zavatskyi played in the Premier League for Kharkiv's Polytechnic, and in 1999 he was the Ukrainian 3x3 basketball champion.

Lost 45 kilograms and was beaten for being tall: Ukrainian 3x3 basketball champion returned from Russian captivity
Lost 45 kilograms and was beaten for being tall: Ukrainian 3x3 basketball champion returned from Russian captivity

Borys volunteered for the war in 2015 and resigned at the end of 2021. When the full-scale invasion began, he immediately went to the military registration and enlistment office. During the 5 months that Borys was off duty, he managed to marry a woman named Yulia, with whom he had studied at boarding school (Yulia was a biathlete) and who was his first love. He had not spoken to her for almost 20 years before the marriage.

"He said he had finally found his love. Although he was still rushing to the front, he could not find himself in civilian life. And now, right after the exchange, he is eager to go back to defend Ukraine. Although it is clear that he needs a lot of time to recover," Borys Zavatskyi's wife Yulia told the FBU press service.

Borys Zavatskyi fought in the 92nd Separate Mechanized Brigade named after Kosh Ataman Ivan Sirko, but on March 25, 2022, he disappeared during a combat mission in the Kharkiv region near the village of Vilkhivka, falling into an ambush.

Lost 45 kilograms and was beaten for being tall: Ukrainian 3x3 basketball champion returned from Russian captivity
Lost 45 kilograms and was beaten for being tall: Ukrainian 3x3 basketball champion returned from Russian captivity

"He was in captivity for 21 months. I found out through the Red Cross that he was alive and in captivity. There was another athlete there with him - kickboxer Oleksii Anulia - so he told me about himself and Borys. They were beaten just for being tall and athletic, and this irritated the Russians. They put them in a punishment cell. Borys hasn't told me anything about his captivity yet. He lost almost 45 kilograms. He was abused there, he had a concussion and his health condition deteriorated significantly. I did not recognize him in the photos he sent me after the exchange. This is all being recorded for the UN. But he did not break down. He is a patriotic man, he always stands for Ukraine," Yulia said.

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