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Thread: Donbass Undercover

  1. #1
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
    Jul 2011


    Donbass Undercover

    This journalist from Novye Izvestia, an independent Russian new website, was refused accreditation by the authorities of the separatist Lugansk People's Republic in East Ukraine, he wanted to see their territory, they said nyet

    They only allow in mostly Russian state media, and some loyal foreigners; who would only present their point of view and film and talk only about things the separatists want them to. This guy didn't fit into that, unfortunately.

    So, recently, he went to Donbass a different way: undercover. He enlisted as a fighter.

    Says it wasn't very difficult. He crossed the border through a separatist-run checkpoint, they slapped their customs seal on his backpack (without even looking at what he was carrying in there haha)

    Asked him why he was entering their "Republic", he said he was going to join a militia and fight at the front. They said, awesome, brother, good for you, and waved him on through lol

    Then, hitchhiked to Lugansk, the regional separatist capital.

    From there, it was easy.

    On the streets there, on information pin boards, they actually have ads with tear off phone numbers, same like folks looking to rent an apartment or whatever, that, such-and-such rebel unit is looking for, in this case, people good at operating tanks, fitting candidates to call the number below

    He says he saw plenty of local men taking those phone numbers, because the militias are pretty much one of very few sources of paid employment in Lugansk (basically, it's that, or the coal mines... And one former miner turned fighter told him the mines are actually more dangerous than the war... And, from what I seen before of salary figures for fighters, it pays way better than the mines too...)

    He joined a unit, at the front line.

    They would stay in abandoned clay mortar houses

    His unit had locals, ethnic Ukrainians and Russians; volunteers from Russia; and he says he also met three foreign volunteers or mercenaries: an Italian and two Frenchmen from Corsica. The Russians from Russia and the foreigners tended to have much better, more expensive, gear and weapons than the locals, who, he surmised, are basically just cannon fodder.

    The enemy are referred to derogatory as "Ukrops". Even the Ukrainian fighters say it same way. As one guy, a far leftist from Kiev, who came to Donbass and joined the rebels to fight what he perceives as a US-sponsored fascist occupation of his country told him, "We (Ukrainians on the rebel side), are free Ukrainian people; they are Ukrops, whores of the West, animals..."

    Kiosks in town sell vodka for 78 Russian rubles (about $1.30) per bottle

    All trade over there is in rubles now, btw

    Ukrainian hryvna no longer acceptable anywhere.

    Anyway, vodka is cheap, but, he says he rarely saw anyone drunk out of their minds, especially closer to the front line. Men drink, sure, these are, after all, Russians and Ukrainians, mostly, Slavs, who cannot live without the vodka lol But, they know their limits, mostly. Discipline is harsh, though weird, at times. For example, the shops and kiosk are under strict orders from the separatist leadership: do not sell alcohol to fighters in uniform. There are safety concerns (for example, they apparently had one young fellow from Russia who got wasted and wondered into one of their own minefields and blew himself up, poor sod); and also, a militiaman explained, there are Ukrainian spies who actually look for drunk separatists in uniform passed out on the street or behaving like jackasses in public; they would take photos and videos and put it up online to embarrass the separatists and make them look bad lol But, if you come back in five minutes in civilian clothes, they will sell you vodka, no problem hehe

    Anyway, there is little fighting on this part of the front line, aside from occasional exchanges of sniper shots. Two most exciting events they had in his time there, were when one of their sharpshooters, a native of Khanty-Mansiysk, in northern Russia, on a dare, shot down the Ukrainian flag the enemy flew on a high pole over their positions to troll the separatists; and when a Ukrainian soldier, apparently from Odessa, defected to their side, reportedly killed a superior officer who tried to stop him (so he said when arrived, anyway, some of the seps thought the young fella was just embellishing his story to look tougher or whatever), stole an APC, and drive rught across the front line. They gave him cover fire, to drive off Ukrainian forces who tried to chase him. The defector said he hates the Ukrainian government, was tired of how soldiers are treated in Ukrainian military, and had lost friends in the unrest in Odessa in 2014 ( Not the first such story.

    Overall, though, it was uneventful and dull.

    Sometimes, some of the fighters went out and hunted down wild pheasants, to add to the bland Russian military food rations they were otherwise issued

    Plenty of men in his unit grumbled that Putin and the separatist leadership are holding them back. Otherwise, they'd advance and smash the hated Ukrops and drive them all the way back to the Polish border lol As it is, the frobt line remains static, and mostly quiet, for now. Some of the fighters in his unit wanted to transfer to the Donetsk rebel forces: way more action there, they said. It's true, on the Donetsk front, there is shooting and shelling and missiles from both sides, every day. Men die on bith sides there, every day. God knows for what...

    Another thing he ovserved: the girls. Pretty local ladies would hang around the fighters constantly, in town. A local militiaman told him his kind have no chance there: the girls look for Russians, who would marry them and take them back to Rusdua with them, after discharging from the militias. "Show her a Russian passport, and she is yours, she will take her clothes off and let you take her there and then..."

    It's true, weddings of fighters have been a constant feature in this conflict

    The local comrade told him even his own sister ended up marrying a guy from his unit and he later took her back with him all the way to Eastern Siberia someplace. Even some shithole in Siberia beats the poverty and violence and instability of Donbass, these days... Girls do what they gotta do to get out of there. Our undercover hero says, once it became known he came not just from Russia, but Moscow, with legit registration (right to live and work) in the great capital, he no longer could peacefully go to town with his new mates: young ladies would be throwing themselves at him, sometimes pretty much literally, ready to let him do to them whatever he pleased, or them to him. Marrjage to a Muscovite is like a jackpot lottery ticket to most Russian country girls, let alone one from Donbass lol They think Moscow is all money and gold... I did too, before moved there and saw for myself...

    Anyhow, this does create some friction between Russian fighters and locals, who are irritated, understandably, by the Russuabs viewing their females as just another trophy, like the cars, artworks, and other spoils they also bring back from Donbass.

    Further, another thing he noticed about Donbass, and the rural communities, is how often empty and lifeless they are

    Around 2 million people fled the conflict. Half of them went to Russia. Other half - to elsewhere in Ukraine and to Poland. 3 million or so residents remain, but majority of them are in the big cities, Donetsk and Lugansk. In the countryside many villagers and small towns are almost entirely abandoned...

    Very, very interesting account, overall:

    Maybe will translate more of it later.
    Last edited by The Man; 8th November 2017 at 10:06 AM.
    Thanks from Tedminator

  2. #2
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
    Jul 2011

    I think I found the Italian mercenary he mentioned

    He said the guy was an ex-Paratrooper, usually hid his face behind a mask, and hung out with Russian mercs from a far right/neo Nazi militia. Pretty sure this is him. There's been a number of Italians involved there, all on sep side, all far right, neo-fascists and such. This one been there at least since the summer of 2015.

    I've seen him interviewed in their propaganda vids

    His Russian is very good, just a very tiny accent, but perfect grammar and everything... Almost like native speaker. Maybe a Russian who was raised in Italy and served in their military. Not sure. He does refer to Donbassians and all Russians as his "brothers", so, there's that. There was another guy like that from America too, son of Russian emigrants who had served in Iraq with US Marines. And a German Bundeswehr Afghan vet originally from Russia also. So, wouldn't surprise me too much. Lots of diasporas everywhere, these days, God knows...

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