Author: Eva Bartlett

DPR Defender: “(Ukraine’s) biggest mistake here was using weapons against civilians”

 

Recently, I visited Zaitsevo, a village in the north of the Donetsk People’s Republic. It has been relentlessly shelled by Ukrainian forces/paramilitaries since 2014, and continues to be bombed nearly every day and night. 

The population has dropped from 3,500 to 1,600, including 200 children.

With me was Dmitry Astrakhan, press officer of the DPR People’s Militia, and a People’s Militia officer going by the nickname “Gyurza”.

In this clip, Gyurza relates how events unfolded in Zaitsevo, how the local defenders have maintained their defensive position, and some of the violations committed by Ukrainian forces.

See related videos/posts:

DPR Village Resident Says Ukrainian Bombings Destroying Homes Street By Street

Resident of the Mine 6-7 District, DPR, Shows Damage to her Home After Ukrainian Shellings

Zaitsevo (DPR) resident: “We are not living, we are surviving”

DPR Village Resident Says Ukrainian Bombings Destroying Homes Street By Street

Zaitsevo, a village in the north of the Donetsk People’s Republic, has been relentlessly shelled by Ukrainian forces/paramilitaries since 2014, and continues to be bombed nearly every day and night.

The population has dropped from 3,500 to 1,600, including 200 children.

I interviewed Irina Dikun, head of the administration of Zaitsevo, who spoke at length on the terror civilians have faced over the years and continue to face with the Ukrainian bombing that erupts nearly every single night, targeting civilian homes and village infrastructure.

“Those who could leave, left. Mostly it’s elderly remaining here. None of the ceasefire agreements (24/5) reached here. Not more than 1 or 2 days of ceasefire,” she said.

“They are destroying street by street in the town. They take one street and destroy it house by house. Then they turn to another street.
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MintPress Sits Down with Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova

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Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova weighs in on Syria, Crimea, the Moscow protests and more.
September 12, 2019, MintPress News

Moscow— In a simple meeting room at the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry building, Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova gave me a generous hour of her time in a conversation peppered with bemused laughter at Western allegations about Russia and clear frustration at the West’s incessant vilification of all things Russia.

I traveled to Moscow in August, where to my delight I had the opportunity to interview Zakharova. Given that Russia is the focus of obsessive and largely negative Western media reporting, and also the country’s role in eliminating the proliferation of terrorist groups that once controlled large swaths of Syria, I wanted to ask Zakharova for her take on a variety of topics related to both Russia and Syria.

In our wide-ranging discussion, Zakharova spoke of the U.S. sanctions regime against Russia and of the Western interference in Russian domestic issues — such as the protests seen in Moscow in July and August.

On Syria, she addressed the issue of exploitation of children in propaganda against Syria and Russia — notably Omran Daqneesh, a child whose image was splashed across newspapers and screens worldwide in 2016, incriminating Russia and Syria in an airstrike that was later proven to have never happened. An official apology from one of the most adamant perpetrators of that narrative, CNN’sChristian Amanpour, also neverhappened.

One cannot discuss the war in Syria and related propaganda without addressing the massively-funded White Helmets. In discussing the group, Zakharova gave examples of its role in fomenting support for Western military intervention, including in pushing responsibility on the Syrian government for the alleged but unproven and, by most honest accounts, staged chemical attack in Douma, eastern Ghouta, in 2018. Footage of the attack included video starring the White Helmets and another exploited Syrian boy, Hassan Diab, whose testimony of the events ran in stark contrast to the allegations against the Syrian government that were being circulated in the Western media.

Zakharova also addressed the inconsistencies around the Skripal case, the historic importance of Crimea’s referendum, and the U.K. “media freedom” conference of July 2019, where cases of imprisoned journalists like Julian Assange and Kirill Vyshinsky were notably not part of the conference program.

In an unexpected development since my discussion with Zakharova, Ukrainian-Russian journalist and editor Vyshinsky was released from his over 15 months of imprisonment without trial by Ukraine. Referring to his imprisonment, Zakharova described him as a hostage.

The interview took place at a time when Western media reporting would have one believe that the streets of Moscow were full of chaos and unrest with the protests. In fact, contrary to media reporting, Moscow was calm, as were the protests I attended on August 10. Once again, it seemed, the media was hyping and distorting reality, as they have so often done elsewhere in the world.

Zakharova’s words are a reality check and offer an informative insight into the Russian perspective on Russian, Syrian, and global events.

Feature photo | Maria Zakharova sits down with Eva Bartlett at a Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry building in Moscow, Russia in August, 2019.  Eva Bartlett | MintPress News

 

Zaitsevo resident: “We are not living, we are surviving”

Yesterday, I was able to visit areas on the outskirts of Gorlovka: mine 6/7 and Zaitsevo, both hard-hit by incessant Ukrainian shelling. Civilians are suffering immensely there, to the silence of Western corporate media.

En route to these areas, Dmitri, press officer of the DPR People’s Militia, gave me this advice:

-When you hear the whistle of a mortar, drop down immediately–to avoid the spray of shrapnel.

-Don’t go off the road; most areas haven’t been checked for unexploded ordnance.

-They (Ukraine) use drones with explosive devices; you don’t know whether its a reconnaissance drone or one that can bomb [I remember this very well from Gaza].  If someone yells air attack, you need to run to find a shelter with a roof. When you hear the ‘outgoing’ call from the spotter, you have 10 to 15 seconds to run.

He spoke of the heavy artillery Ukraine uses in spite of the “ceasefire”, and how Ukraine hides their shelling from the OSCE by doing so after hours (when difficult to film, in dark), claiming any damage was done by the DPR side (to itself), or say they (Ukraine) were merely defending themselves, replying to DPR attacks.

*
[See this:

“In the period from September 2 to September 8, 86 ceasefire violations by Ukrainian armed formations were recorded. Overall, 918 rounds of ammunition were fired (8.5 tons or 99 boxes).

During the designated period, the enemy fired at the DPR 40 152mm artillery rounds and more than 260 120mm and 82mm mortar rounds. Two civilians were wounded and 23 houses and infrastructures facilities were damaged in shelling.”

A new comprehensive, lasting and indefinite ceasefire came into force in Donbass at 00:01 on July 21.”]

* POST CONTINUES

Interview with Maria Zakharova, coming soon!

 

I am very pleased that my interview & conversation with Maria Zakharova will be published soon on MintPress News.   Mint has tweeted a short trailer.

Maria’s words are powerful, she is a sage voice in the face of endless Western media and politicians’ lies and, frankly, fake news.  I thank her for the generous amount of time she gave me, and for her integrity.
*I’ve been working very hard on this. It would have been out a week or more ago, but I did have a technical problem: the video editing file and the backup file which I had almost completed work on suddenly failed and would not open. I had to start over from the beginning, while travelling & doing some interviews in Crimea. 

In spite of tech issues, I finally finished the last bit yesterday. I’m grateful to Mint for adding very nice finishing and professional touches, and for publishing the interview!

 

Ukraine’s War on Donbass: An Interview With Filmmaker Maxim Fadeev

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The following is an interview conducted by email with a documentary maker based in Donetsk, who has been documenting Ukraine’s war on the Donetsk People’s Republic and the tragedies this has caused civilians living there.

‘Maxim Fadeev’ is actually the pseudonym of a correspondent whose family lives in an area of Ukraine controlled by the government. To protect his family, Maxim, like many journalists whose families live on the other side, opted to use a pseudonym, due to persecution by the Ukrainian authorities.

In fact, even journalists living and working in such areas openly and transparently are persecuted. One prime example is that of Kirill Vyshinsky, editor of RIA Novosti Ukraine, arrested and imprisoned by Ukraine in May 2018, the authorities alleging treason. Vyshinky has 15 months later still not had an actual trial.

UPDATE: As of August 28, Kirill Vyshinsky has finally been released, although he still has not had a fair trial. Sadly, his case is not unique; journalists in Ukraine have very real fears of being persecuted, as do their lawyers. Maxim Fadeev and his family would be a prime target, given the nature of his courageous and damning documentary work.

More on Maxim, as told to me by his colleague:

“Max Fadeev is one of the most prominent filmmakers who has captured the war in the east of Ukraine: his unique footage from the fighting in the midst of the battles was shown on both Russian State TV channels as well as US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Very few in the industry have dared plunge so deeply into unfolding events. At one stage, he was living with the rebels (militia fighters) for several days during a bloody assault on the terminal building at Donetsk airport, the enemy, the Ukrainian military, being stationed only a hundred meters away. Max daringly filmed an offensive operation from within the Marinka settlement, which is located close to the city of Donetsk. The footage was used by a dozen clip makers – almost every video about Donbass contains his footage (the most famous example has almost 3 million views on YouTube: https://youtu.be/NyCD3LqfbJ8).

Max Fadeev has shot 16 films since May 2014 (https://vimeo.com/maxfadeev), and now, despite the fact that this war is almost forgotten, he and his team independently continue to work on serious documentary projects to show and document what is happening on his native land.”

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Lovely Encounters In Sevastopol, Crimea

I have a lot to update on from various areas of Russia over the past few weeks, but have been working hard on a special project that takes priority over all my other work and over even simple updates (and which unfortunately two days ago I had to re-start from the beginning when my project and backup project inexplicably failed).

Yesterday was one of the few exceptions to me taking time from that project to post an update, because it’s just too lovely to not post while still buzzing from the happiness of the encounters I had in Crimea today, again.

Yesterday afternoon, I walked 25 minutes or so from my Simferopol hotel to the train station, managed to buy a ticket thanks to translation app (119 Rubles, several hundred fewer than the bus prices I was seeing online), and had a delightful train ride in a slow train filled with locals getting off/on the train periodically over the two hours of the journey.

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