It is easy for us to judge Ukrainian soldiers fighting on the side of the junta, but it would be a mistake to paint them all with one stroke. There are convicts, extremists, nationalists and russophobes, and then there are reservists, conscripts and forcibly enlisted random citizens. This is why it was necessary for the junta to create the elite ‘zagrad-brigades’ (meaning ‘barrier’) with ideologically ‘filtered’ troops to be ‘the police’ of the army.
Under the heavy assault of Ukrainian media, which is the number one tool of the junta, inadequate internet availability and a black out of the Russian media, which could give them a different perspective, it’s not easy for Ukrainian citizens to have a clear picture of what’s going on in Donbass.
In Ilovaisk Ukrainian POWs are working on fixing the infrastructure and damage, which they have inflicted. In the video you can see the shame and anguish in some of the faces. It is clear that many of them unknowingly became the tools in a game they didn’t begin, and for some of them it will take their entire lives to reconcile with themselves…
Here is an interview with one of the POW’s:
– We are the military, we were called up, and we had to follow the order. If you don’t go, you will be jailed, if you go – you will be killed. We had no choice. We were under fire every day. We complained, but couldn’t leave, because then we would be labeled ‘deserters’. We waited for 45 days. Then we hoped for rotation. I was hoping to go home, and to never return.
– When you were mobilized did you know, you would go to Donbass?
– We were told we would go to the zone of the ATO. That we would perform peacekeeping functions. To protect the order and prevent crime. We helped the locals, shared our food.
– Do you have a family?
– Big family?
– Do you think it is justified, that if Donbass residents came to your town and destroyed it, that they would have to rebuild it?
– Yes, of course.
– How long will you be here?
– It doesn’t depend on me, I came to work. I will stay here as long as I have to. I want to help the people, who have suffered such losses.
– What can you say about this war?
– I can say one thing, this war is pointless. Neighbors against neighbors.
– Did you realize it here?
– Yes, I did.
– What did you think before you went to war?
– You know, I am not very versed in the Internet. So I didn’t read anything there. We were told, there are drug addicts here and so on, and we have to restore order, to help the local police. When I came here I saw something very different. I was very disappointed, and wanted to go home.