”Traitors!”, ”Murderers!”, ”Fascists!”
”You should die for having murdered children here in Donetsk!”
The jeers come thick and fast when the prisoners of war are paraded along main street in Donetsk. Some are throwing garbage, but the militia men guarding the prisoners are keeping the most aggressive spectators at a distance. After the prisoners cleaning vehicles follow, symbolically washing the street where they have trodden.
It is Ukraine’s day of independence. 55 metrical miles away, west by northwest, in central Kiev, a military parade is held. In Donetsk for its part it’s all about the independence of Novorossiya – New Russia.
The display of POW’s has upset many in the west. Human Rights Watch says that it’s a crime against the laws of war.
The Kiev regime for its part characterizes the pro-Russian separatists in the People’s Republic of Donetsk (DPR) as ”terrorists”, thereby not needing to treat them according to the Geneva Convention. At the same time as Nya Tider is watching the prisoner’s parade in Donetsk Vice News is interviewing a member of a regime loyal militia group next to the Kiev military parade, telling about torturing an artillery spotter they had captured.
– We squeezed his nipples with pliers… We put needles under his nails, making him sing ”my dear mother”… When we poured water over him, saying we were going to burn him alive, he said that he would tell us everything, the Kiev loyal militia man explains.
”Are Treated Well”
Except for the humiliation in having to go bound between thousands of spectators shouting out their scorn, the prisoners of the separatists are treated well from what we have seen on the spot. Some have bandaged wounds but no one shows any visible signs of torture or maltreatment.
According to Anita, our guide working for the DPR administration, one of the reasons for the parade is to show to the prisoners that the people is on the side of the separatists, and that New Russia doesn’t need to be ”liberated” from any ”terrorists”, as the propaganda of Kiev states. She means that it would be downright stupid to mistreat the prisoners, saying that they leave it to Kiev to blunder in this way.
– I was talking to a guy present at an exchange of prisoners a few weeks ago. He told me that while we handed over our prisoners in healthy shape, the Kiev troops handed over half-dead and tortured prisoners from their bus, as if they had been garbage. How do you think this will affect our soldiers, or their soldiers getting to hear that we are the evil terrorists? We want to show the prisoners that we have the right on our side, Anita says.
She also says that the prisoners of DPR are even allowed to call home to their next-of-kins. This is denied to the Kiev prisoners.
Georgij Morozov, on newly-formed New Russia news agency, also says that the Kiev Junta is treating their prisoners far worse than the separatists.
– When they become prisoners with the army it isn’t so alarming, however, when captured by nazis taking over from the regular soldiers, from then on the fate of the prisoners is grim. They have been kept in holes dug out of the ground, without food or water for days in blazing heat. They have been tortured, maltreated and drugged.
Unfortunately no one can confirm these statements with either pictures or doctor’s certificates. According to Morozov this is due to the fact that their news agency is newly formed. Nowadays the troops are informed about how important it is to document the war crimes of the Kiev Junta – something Nya Tider also will be doing, but more on this in later issues.
When newly elected prime minister of the People’s Republic of Donetsk, Alexander V. Zachartjenko, at a press conference later in the day was asked why staging the parade, he answered:
– Kiev said that they will march in a parade in Donetsk on the 24th. So they did. Poroshenko didn’t lie: they were here, together with their hardware.
That the people is on the side of the separatists, this, at least, is confirmed again and again during Nya Tider’s visit in Donetsk. There are shouts of ”Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” to the militia men after the POW’s have been taken aboard waiting buses, and women of all ages hurry forth to let themselves be photographed with their heroes. All of the militia men aren’t so eager to have their picture taken – especially not those having relatives in Kiev controlled areas – but some comply to the ladies’ whishes.
Afterwards thousands of Donetsk citizens gather in the square where the DPR militia has displayed a number of destroyed and captured tanks. Patriotic music is played through loudspeakers beneath a giant, Soviet era statue of Lenin, with flags of New Russia and DPR flying over the throng. For a moment the people of Donetsk seems to forget their sorrows, the atmosphere being proud and almost euphoric.
”Obama and Porosjenko”
When the crowd finally starts to diminish in size a woman gets up and shouts mocking words at the respective presidents of Ukraine and USA. A camera man films the event. Some spectators laugh at all the profanities the lady is using, among other things stating that Porosjenko and Obama are having improper sexual intercourse. However, many nod their heads in approval.
– She might be mad, Anita says when we leave. But if I lost a relative I would probably shout worse things. And then join the army.