Ukrainian Hospitality: Guards “Tortured” French Veterans in Odessa

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Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

6th May, 2016


French veterans of the events against the Nazi occupation arrived in Odessa to honor the memory of the victims of the tragedy in the House of Trade Unions. To their surprise, the Ukrainian border guards subjected them to torture instead of a rosy reception.

The veterans, without any explanation, were detained all night at the airport and had to sleep on railway benches. The relatives accompanying were obliged to sleep on the floor. The worst thing is that the French were not even given a piece of bread…

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“When we arrived at the airport, we were very happy. But when I gave my passport to control, the border guards did not even look at the passport, they turned me back. We thought they knew we were coming, because they never even looked in our passports. We were asked why we came to Ukraine, we answered that we were invited, that we are awaiting, we explained all of this to them. We showed them all the documents, it lasted a very long time. 

In the end, we were told that we have no good reason to visit Ukraine. It was very hard to hear, because we have a very good reason. We were not invited by friends, it was important. We spent the whole night at the airport, and eventually we were forced back. It was very cold, we slept on cold benches. My mother is too old to sleep on the bench. Every time I tried to go to the toilet, behind me was a man in uniform. After that mom said she didn’t want anything in common with Ukraine. We wanted to understand the reason, but they have not explained anything,” said the daughter of a veteran of the liberation movement in France. 

The most suspicious thing is that there is any reason for refusing entry. People were not even explained the reasons why. This is, apparently, one of the ways of retaining an information blockade, otherwise it is difficult to imagine the reason served for the refusal.

A similar incident cannot be called anything other than torture, because the age of the veterans is far beyond 70, it is obvious that such an adventure is unlikely to leave a warm trace in the soul of the European liberators from fascism. In Odessa airport, they met one more manifestation of it.

Connivance, arbitrariness? What else can it be called? I’m afraid that the reason is not in the organization of the work of border services, there are blatant elements of information deterrence and “nationalist patriotism”, which does not allow to look at the whole Ukrainian picture from another angle – the angle where all France is situated.

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