Sketches from the front: How to cure separatism?

Author : Mykhailo Ukhman

Source :

Good deeds and care can cure everything. And adding to this the firm position, decisive action – then separatism also can be cured. And then really "everything will be Ukraine".
11:30, 27 June 2017

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Residents of Svitlodarsk, which is a city of strategic importance for Ukraine, have become hostages of the situation. Once there were about thirteen thousands of people. Now half has left the city, another thousand consists of settlers from the occupied Debaltsevo. They have nothing to do, except to adapt to life near the zone of military operations.

Some inhabitants work at Vugledarska TPP, a small part - in budgetary institutions. The local market is also a good place to earn money. But all this places may offer only some possibilities for survival.

People do not want to go to the pseudo-republics. And they will not do this. The wave of emotions that covered them in the spring of 2014 passed. Connoisseurs of the "Russian world", without seeing good results, shut their mouths and simply watch what would happen next. The prospects are poor. The only ones who still hope for "brotherly" Russia are old people. But their hopes roll, as well as the years of their lives - to the end. However, they are not very fond of Ukraine either. More precisely, of the Ukrainian government.

- My husband was taken off by 7 people masks in the morning. They came, did not say anything. Tied his hands and took him to an unknown destination. The child saw all this, he was frightened. A whole day they kept him at one of the police stations, then they pushed him outside the door without explaining anything. People from peaceful Ukraine say that we have bad attitude for the Ukrainian military. And why should I love them? For some residents of Svitlodarsk, drunken soldiers are part of the business. They produce alcohol for them. And from that they live. We all understand this. Many people support our Donetsk neighbors. But you cannot judge all of us because of our attitude. Why should I like drunken Ukrainian soldier? He walks through the city, curses, and offences us. Is he better than a Russian mercenary who is fighting against Ukraine?

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Such sentiments prevail among the majority of Svitlodarsk citizens. Salaries here are minimal, utilities payments are huge. No prospects for development. Just usual promises of the authorities. Therefore, when my friend and I were walking around the city in the evening, people were looking at us with curiosity, indifference and hatred.

From the Svitlodarsk embankment the Novoluhansk city is especially clearly visible. In the forest at the left of the city, are located positions of pro-Russian terrorists. And from Svitlodarsk you can see how their artillery beats the Ukrainian military. And how Ukrainian defenders attack Russian mercenaries. The latter especially pleases us. If a mine hits its target, fireballs explode on separatist positions. At such a time near the local Neptune restaurant dozens of onlookers gather, who film everything on camera. Comment on something. During one of these battles on the dam we were also present. It was difficult to understand which was more interesting for the inhabitants - shooting or two Ukrainian soldiers, who watched the artillery duel.

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When returning to the base, we saw another group of people near the building with the inscription "Restaurant", which is in the center of the city. They smoked, music was heard indoors, and a shout of one of the Russian pop singers was heard from the speakers. Nearby on the benches sat mothers with parents, they drank beer, smoked. They had small children in their carriages. And for two meters from this party we saw a huge pile of garbage, which someone has not cleaned for two days already. This picture did not fit in any way with people who have a difficult material and moral position. And when twilight comes to the city, the number of people in alcoholic intoxication is off scale. It turns out that they can blame, but they can’t show us an example of right behaviour?

Many people strolling along the Avenue of Peace, where a monument to Lenin stood earlier. And almost none of them pay attention that for 5 kilometers from here there is a heavy artillery fight. One person, already pretty drunk, came up to us and on high tones began to ask when would we stop shooting. "When the last scum leaves the lands of Ukraine, then the guns will cease," we answered. He looked at us like a madman, went away and began to curse. Another man was watching this scene. When everything became quiet, he came up to us and said: "Guys, do not pay attention to such people, 95 percent here are so called home separatists, they do not give a damn about everything, it will take years to change them, or some cardinal actions of the Ukrainian authorities."

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Local hospital

At that time, it seemed to me that Svitlodarsk people really did not need Ukraine. Different language, different customs. Although it was not clear what they need from life. And everything changed the next morning. Military doctors, who are in the city and help the wounded from the front, also provide their services to the civilian population. I had to witness how our surgeons helped a little girl who broke her arm, a boy who broke his leg, a man who fell from the second floor and injured his back.

Grateful parents and the wife of the victim with tears of joy in their eyes thanked the military doctors, switched from Russian to Ukrainian, tried to give them chocolate and sweets. It was so touching that I involuntarily forgot where I was.

Already leaving Svitlodarsk, I saw an old woman who smoked. Approaching us, she said: "Hello, sons, everything will be Ukraine." And she left.

Ukrainian authorities should at least pay a little attention to these people. Good deeds and care can cure everything. And adding to this firm position, decisive action – and separatism also can be cured. And then really "everything will be Ukraine".

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