Residents of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region discussed in interviews how they’ve been marginalized, attacked by hostile Ukrainian military forces.
In recent interviews published by American independent media organization RAIR Foundation, residents of separatist regions recognized as independent republics by Russian President Vladimir Putin last month describe repeated attacks by the Ukrainian military over the past 8 years.
“It all started around June 2014, when we decided to separate from Ukraine. So they started shelling us… mornings and nights,” one woman recalls.
“My husband and I went to vote in the referendum,” she continues. “We were walking there while they were shooting at us, under artillery shelling.”
An older woman agrees, saying she remembers seeing leaflets telling residents to the leave the area around the same time.
“They were dropping leaflets on us in 2014 saying we should leave immediately, take ourselves and get off the land because it does not belong to us,” she says. “They don’t need the people who live here; they want our land and our coal, but they don’t need the people.”
Footage in the video purports to show Donbas residents digging through the rubble of a demolished building searching for survivors.
“Ukraine was shooting at us,” an interviewee recalled realizing. “They hate us.”
She continued: “When they started bombing us, killing children, women and the elderly, I understood that they hate us, even though we didn’t do anything to them; we didn’t start a war against them. They started it.”
The woman also described psychological manipulation by the Ukraine military, who told residents they brought the attacks on themselves with advanced military artillery.
“They say we attacked them, that we bomb ourselves. When it all started, they said they were not using weapons against civilians… They were bombing us using all kinds of unlawful weapons: cassette bombs, Grads, Uragans.”
A Ukrainian mom with her three children explained how the Western media ignores certain facts to present a one-sided, pro-Ukrainian slant to the ongoing situation.
She noted how everyone is saying “help Ukraine” now, but said their voices were ignored eight years ago.
The interviews highlight a perspective ignored by Western media to cast Russia as the enemy, but the Donbas’ people’s voices must be heard to understand the true nature of the conflict.
The interviews published by RAIR Foundation come on the heels of a French journalist reportedly saying the Ukrainian government is targeting its own citizens.
*Disclaimer – Translation NOT Verified*