|Xavier Moreau, addressing his French countrymen, from video at source.|
“The home-made oven was fueled by the shivered timber from the trees torn apart by Ukrainian shells”
in DNIPress, November 9, 2015
Translated from French by Tom Winter
I freely admit that I never expected to see — in such a well-known celebrity analyst like Xavier Moreau — the guts to come right into the Donbass, and right into the front, which has been stirred up for some days by Ukrainian provocations.
I had the chance to conduct him into the neighborhood of Spartak, one of the hotter spots of the Donbass, utterly destroyed, amidst the gutted houses, with their walls pocked with shrapnel from shells.
No need to introduce the guy: Moscovite for 15 years, gifted analyst often invited to panels in Russian and sometimes French media, despite the strong censorship. Xavier Moreau just came here as a regular French citizen.
He can say, even from this short visit, “I was there” and very few men or women of France have had the guts to come so far on their own initiative. It’s as a Christian, serving the charitable association France-Vostok Solidarity Donbas association. Three other members of this association also made the trip, Alain, Nikola, and Elena, the association past president.
Numerous reports are to come on their admirable humanitarian action, and it was on the last day of their presence in Donbass that we made it to the front line.
We went to meet people who live at the front, in unimaginable conditions as we are nearing the onslaught of winter: No water, no electricity, no heat. Couples, the aged, children — live under the sporadic Ukrainian shells.
Xavier also went up to meet some soldiers at a checkpoint with a makeshift bunker. No filming there, for evident reasons of security — rules of war. We saw a Polish license plate, here as a war souvenir; a starry European Union flag — symbol of the enemy of Donbass and her people — set over the bunker as a sort of prize.
Elsewhere, he came equipped with toys, chocolate, and some grocery supplies to meet people. We descended into a gloomed basement that served as sleeping quarters. The makeshift kitchen was outdoors, with a home-made oven, fueled by the shivered timber from the trees torn apart by Ukrainian shells. Alongside there were some sacks of leftover charcoal for keeping the pot going.
As for me, I turned over to this underground family the remnants of a meal from other Donbass inhabitants: a traditional bread, some pickles, bacon, some rolls stuffed with meat and rice, a Ukrainian culinary specialty quite widespread throughout the slavic world.
The soldiers received from my hands another gift, this one coming from my sister, a nurse who passed on a warm scarf and a camoflage net which will modestly assist in their struggle for liberty. This may seem silly, but the appeal of Xavier Moreau for the association Vostok-France may stir the generosity of the French, and permit the association — non-political and independent — to return with aide for the people.
But let Xavier Moreau himself speak, here in this remarkable interview that I will long remember, as well as the four days that we spent together with the team Vostok France Solidarité Donbass. [Video in French at site]