November 8, 2016 – Fort Russ News –
– Christelle NEANT, in DONiPRESS, translated by Tom Winter –
|A bus station, where people were waiting for their bus|
|Some of the French visitors|
After a first day spent in the city center of Donetsk, the group of French visitors toured the western outskirts of the capital of the People’s Republic of Donetsk (RPD). This area is subjected every day to Ukrainian Army bombardment. We start by visiting the district centered on the Donetsk railway station that still bears the scars of the bombing. The shelling resulted in many casualties, notably when the market next to it was hit in broad daylight.
Then we continued on to the Kievski neighborhood and next to the Oktobrist, near Donetsk airport which is now totally destroyed. The scars of bombing, some recent, are everywhere: buildings destroyed or riddled with shrapnel, holes in the walls, markers commemorating the many civilian victims of those bombings, and houses more or less flattened.
Near the airport, we meet the inhabitants surviving among the ruins with a few chickens and goats that graze amid the rubble. and in broad daylight, we hear shots in the distance.
We then continue to the bus station, which, like the airport was brand new, completely redone for Euro 2012. The station was completely destroyed by Grad rockets. A bus station where a large number of people were waiting for their bus when it was hit by the bombing. What remains of this apocalyptic scene reveals, despite the time that has passed, the panic of passengers trying to escape.
” The bus station ! If I was doing a film about the war I would start here. Look at the pictures and imagine for a second that she was crammed with people waiting for their bus! […] The melted suitcase really got to me, I’ve seen too many movies about the Second World War,” declared Vladimir after his visit.
After a quick break when I took the opportunity to ask them about their impressions, we continue our tour, to the Petrovski district, southwest of Donetsk, also regularly bombarded by the Ukrainian army. Then, among other areas, the Trudovski neighborhood, whose stores opposite the local bus station were completely destroyed by bombing, and where a number of people have survived for more than two years in the bomb shelter of the mine, which has withstood thousands of bombardments since 2014.
The association of veterans of Afghanistan were our guides in this district, showing us several World War Two and Afghan War memorials, and a giant steel sculpture made with recycled weapons from a local munitions factory. It is still waiting to be installed on its pedestal at the monument dedicated to the region’s fallen soldiers in Afghanistan.
We finish with a visit to the war museum located in one of the Petrovski district schools. A small museum containing original pieces of World War II, the war in Afghanistan, and Nagorno-Karabakh.
In view of what we visited earlier in the day, seeing this museum, we have the terrible feeling that history repeats itself. A repeat permitted by the silence of the Western media about the true nature of the current Ukrainian regime. A silence that our visitors broke, coming on to the site, a silence that they will continue to fight now that they have returned to France.
Follow the French group during its second day in Donetsk, and hear their impressions: