Crimean MP: “Crimea Under Ukraine Was Robbed”

In Simferopol, Crimea, in August, I met with Yuri Gempel, a Member of Parliament, and the Chairman of the Standard Commission on Inter-Ethnic Relations of the Parliament of Crimea.

Excerpt from our conversation:

“Crimea, under Ukraine, was robbed,” Gempel says. “Everything was taken by the government and representatives of the ruling elite of Ukraine. For the 23 years Crimea was a part of Ukraine, they robbed Crimea. Not a single kindergarten was built in Crimea during those years. Kindergartens built during Soviet times stopped functioning.

But the main issue is that during that time, the people still felt themselves to be in Russian territory, not Ukrainian, in language, culture and in spirit. Under Ukrainian rule, Crimeans were made to speak Ukrainian, although Crimeans’ native language is Russian. People were deprived of the right to be in state service if they did not speak Ukrainian.”

Civilians Remain in Bombed & Machine-Gunned Frontline DPR Village, Facing Near-Daily Ukrainian Attacks

 

In Krutaya Balka, a frontline village north of Donetsk and just outside of Yasinovataya, 15 people (mostly elderly) remain, under near-daily Ukrainian shelling & heavy machine gun fire.

I spoke with those I could find at home while I was there. All told me they were constantly being assaulted by Ukrainian forces, by heavy machine gun fire and shelling.

The machine gun fire not only punctures the walls but also can set fire to the roof, thus the whole house.

All said they had no where to go, so they stay, living in hell in an area otherwise quite lovely. Same as I heard in Zaitsevo, further north in the Donetsk People’s Republic.

This video is the first of a few I’ll upload from Krutaya Balka, letting the civilians speak about what corporate owned media will not.

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From Frontline Village of Krutaya Balka, Where Residents Under Constant Ukrainian Machine Gun Fire, Sniping, Bombing

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The other day I went to Krutaya Balka, a frontline village N of Donetsk and just outside of Yasinovataya. Around 15 people (mostly elderly) remain in this village, under Ukrainian shelling & heavy machine gun fire.

I spoke with those I could find at home while I was there. All told me they were constantly being assaulted by Ukrainian forces) by heavy machine gun fire and shelling. The machine gun fire not only punctures the walls but also can set fire to the roof, thus the whole house.

All said they had no where to go, so they stay, living in hell in an area otherwise quite lovely. Same as I heard in Zaitsevo, further north in the Donetsk People’s Republic.

The man in the photo (walking down the lane) allowed me to interview & film him, but without including his face because every day he has to walk across an extremely dangerous area to reach his home. He said he had already been shot in the leg by a Ukrainian sniper crossing in that area. But what to do? Where to go? So he daily faces death, walking without any sort of body armour.

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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.

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[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.”]

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