The Western media has always been heavily sanitised in war reporting - broadcast by organisations who are terrified of 'offending' viewers. But how can anyone fully understand or change an awful situation if they do not have the full picture? I was curious to find out what locals had uploaded to YouTube, to try and see things from their view. Apart from their lives being in real danger, there are also food, water, medicine and energy shortages in some areas, especially Lugansk (source: http://goo.gl/BxCqfY ).
It seems 818+ civilians have been killed in Eastern Ukraine since mid-April, according to the BBC's report from 13th August (plus 468 Ukrainian soldiers and 800 rebel fighters). And nearly 5,000 people have been confirmed wounded ( http://goo.gl/aTrRcL ).
Graphic, recent YouTube videos of real life and death scenes in the streets of Eastern Ukraine - here is just a tiny sample of the insightful reality that the media hides. Regardless of who started what, who killed who, and whose side you are on, let's not forget that it is always the civilians in war who pay the biggest price:
http://goo.gl/znig4f (Mariupol, 9th May 2014.)
http://goo.gl/drSzDV (After the bombing of Lugansk city by Ukrainian air forces, 2nd June 2014.)
http://goo.gl/u2HQWx (Donetsk, 12th July.)
http://goo.gl/cTht92 (After another bombing of Lugansk, 28th July 2014.)
For the purpose of this forum, it is the ladies in the dating sites and their families that concern me. It is not that I do not care about the others. I have friends in FB who live in Donetsk and I am constantly asking them about their safety.
The subject is delicate, with the ladies, as it is about romance and relationships we should be talikng about, but the war in their vicinity is the elephant in the room and it does affect them and their potential relationship with a Western man. Some are OK but some sound really desperate, some ask for help (money) and some do not.
I do not discuss the politics with them anymore, but I discuss their safety, jobs, their relatives, etc. I did discuss the politics a couple of times and it ended up in conflict as it turned out that the lady was on the Russians side!
Also, it must be said: the Ukrainian army is shelling civilian areas. Local relief and UN workers and observers testify to this.
@Ws: Yes, the Ukrainian army was definitely also bombing civilian areas. And if the bombs are from an aircraft, it is almost certainly the Ukrainian army. Coincidentally, in the above videos, I suspect it was responsible for all the deaths.
I also rarely mention the current situation to female correspondents, apart from any concerns over safety, because I think most don't want to discuss it. We all know that Ukraine has a terrible reputation for on-line scamming, but your contacts from Donetsk were probably genuinely desperate. For example, read Durak's link above about how and why people travel through the conflict areas between Mariupol and Donetsk.
Does it matter that one of your correspondents turned out to be on the Russian side? She, like most people, probably doesn't fully understand the true situation, so if she's nice, why make it a problem?
@Durak: Your link is an interesting article. I've travelled many times on those old cramped buses in Eastern Europe (the worst being in Ukraine) and involving crossing from one country to another. But no burnt-out tanks and bomb craters in the streets to dodge!
@Rb: Both sides will attack and defend in or outside from residential areas. The fighters, and their politicians, couldn't care at all whether anything gets in the way of them achieving their purpose. Isn't this true in all wars?
I can only feel empathy for anyone living in the war regions. Some villages outside Lugansk are totally destroyed. They are innocent people caught in the middle of crossfire. If they or their relatives haven't been killed or injured, their house may be obliterated. And who would pay to rebuild? I bet not the government, and buildings insurance policies are bound to be void in war. Lugansk still has no water or electricity, and wages and pensions have not been paid for months.
Some of the most realistic news coverage can be found on YouTube, although you have to question who put it there and why. The following three videos are from July, so with the ceasefire still in place, hopefully there will be no more armed conflict.
http://goo.gl/S6ha3L (Six minute documentary in English. Sad, but the nurse adds some sweetness.)
http://goo.gl/lAor4D (Care home for the elderly shelled in Lugansk, 28th July.)
http://goo.gl/yG7SZu (In English subtitles, this resident explains the futility of war.)
Something more up-to-date, from the BBC:
http://goo.gl/58ABKS 18th September. BBC journalists attacked in southern Russia for interviewing a relative of a soldier killed in Ukraine.
"As they contemplated the disaster of the war, some people signaled that they regretted the rush toward independence and the rapid escalation into war.
'We were led like sheep,' said one woman in the neighboring region of Donetsk, who admits she voted for independence in the May referendum. She immediately asked not to be identified for fear of trouble from the separatist rebels in charge in her town.
Several people interviewed, who asked not to be quoted by name, said much of the population was scared of the rebels, some of whom have abused their power by robbing banks, stealing cars and arresting people. Even as the separatists accuse Kiev of being influenced by fascist groups, people fear the consequences of the rebels’ running their region. 'People are saying, ‘Give us anything but this — Germany, Hitler, whatever,’' one resident of the Luhansk region said."
The protests are now spreading into Moscow. The ground swell is growing and likely will not be stopped with violence against his own people. Soon Putin will loose control in Russia too, as he becomes more controlling. He will likely serve up Yanucovych when the opposition grows. Then, "&&&& On the road again &&&&&"
FROM A REUTERS ARTICLE ABOUT YESTERDAY'S UNLAWFUL ELECTION IN DONBASS:
Natasha, 28, a nurse, said: "I didn’t vote in the elections. They mean nothing to me, they only mean more people with guns and more chaos. Since they’ve taken over, our Donbass has produced only idiots."
"I don’t want to give you my last name because this is like the 1930s, like Stalin’s purges, people are afraid to speak their mind," she said.
We got heat on Monday...well, sort of. Much like the summer in which the water wasnt cold but not hot either, the radiators are warm to the touch but not really doing anything to warm the place but only to keep the inside temperature from getting lower which can be from 45-50 degrees with temps outside in the low 20s.
except for the fundraisers and patriot people actually doing something to help, most people in Kyiv hardly act like there is any war of threat.
That attitude is far different in the border regions that also risk being taken and those who would suddenly have a border with Russia. Property sales in odesa have plunged as people get worried about buying a home in what could suddenly become Novorussiya. You can barely give a property away in Crimea and Putin has to pay people to vacation there this summer.Apartments that were $120,000 are now 50-70,000
In Kherson region, Nikolaev and obviously now Mariupol,, People have been increasingly worried as Russia probably has 30,000 troops IN Ukraine in 4 areas.. Yes, 30,000 troops. The shelling in Mariupol gets worse each day. Having seen the remains of Luhansk airport there is no doubt in my mind that Thermobaric weapons were used as it looks like it was nuked.
Russia has been testing new and improved armor piercing rounds and improved Anti tank guided missiles.. Lethal weapons on a tank and will also take out Sbrams tanks quite easily also.
If Russia attacks again it will require urban warfare and lots of deaths. The tactics used in war zones are straight out of 1970s strategy books and
markedly better than in Georgia and much better equipped for this style of warfare. If Ukraine had some standard issue US equipment and stuff now being replaced by newer generations of weapons, Ukraine would be kicking ass.
There is a good chance that now that the terrorist farce of elections is done he will find a pretext to get things rolling again. Believe it or not, Putin wanted that 1.5 Billion Ukraine had to pay to start the gas flowing.. The only question remaining is 1.5billion enough to invade now or wait until the second payment to reach 3.1 billion. Last week Russia spent more money to slow the devaluation of the Ruble but the effect didnt even last one market cycle before jumping back to 42-1, now at 43.71 If it hits 50-1 then you will see an economic collapse not quite as bad as 1998. Dollar denominated loans are 40% more expensive for people doing business in Rubles and some point they will be unable to pay their loans. Of course Putin may cancel the loans and keep Russians from losing their assets to western banks. Putin seems to think that Russia can survive all that as long as he can be Peter the Great(Putin the Great
I have to disagree with a few things. Odesa will NEVER be part of 'Novorussia'. Property sales have plunged just like amount of tourists have plunged in Odesa because of the issues in eastern Ukraine. I am in Odesa quite often, spent several weeks in September, NO issues with anything having to do with the 'WAR'. Earlier this year there were protests on streets but that has died much like the trouble in early May. Even in a Ukrainian forum I am involved in, many people have questions is it safe in Kiev to visit. People have the idea that war in Ukraine means all parts of country.
The place that should worry people is Kharkiv, Rick, have you been there recently. There is a strong underground there and some of people in govt/police are known to favor the causes of separtists.
Mariupol is in Donetsk region, not in Kherson region,( maybe you did not mean this), there are troubles there as many should know. If I looked into my crystal ball, the trouble will not go any more south than here. Any talk of Russia moving down coast to Crimea is just talking heads.
BTW, if you think Lugansk airport is bad...have a look at what Donetsk airport looks like now!!!
beemer, sorry I missed you last time. Our friend said you were here in September and I have not been able to drink with her because of her work schedule.
I didnt mean to "merge" the areas in my post, only to mention that I have been in all 3 areas recently.
I dont like Kharkiv as a general rule, just never clicked for me. My oldest is there and tells me all those things. Some of the recent events have been caused by police with terrorist ties. When I travel between Mariupol, Kherson, Nikolaev and Odesa there military checkpoints throughout. I often buy coffee and pastries for them.
One of my friends/associates has avoided buying an apartment in Odesa because there really is a genuine risk of occupation by Russia. Ive been looking at one for a few months that is 5000 less than August. Mariupol seems like there is no cease fire at all with Russian shelling getting worse every day.
I sold my apartment in kiev for 40k less than it was worth in 2008 but 40k more than i paid for it in 2003. I am buying a 3 room apt. in a small town in kirovohrad region(wont mention specific location as I have a certain someone on forum who seems obsessed with my life here)as it is near one of my projects and I see being there long term.
Durak, I have been going between my foster homes in Kherson, Nikolaev and schools in Odesa region as well as Cherkasy and Kirovohrad region. I visited Severdonetsk and Schastya recently in Luhansk region as well as airport. Ive been detained 3 times already both by government and terrorists in past 2 months and will have BBC crew join me in december as well as several americans. going to do a documentary on the displaced kids from the ATO zones.
Based upon what I am seeing, the war will kick back up very soon. mariupol and further west are very much in danger of renewed Russian effords to expand territory.
If you have seen the Russian plans drawn up over 6 years ago after Orange revolution there is no doubt as to Putin's intentions.
Crimea was a very well planned and executed operation and the eastern operations were a bonus that just havent gone as well as putin hoped as he was seeking to need overt russian troop action to achieve his goals.
The idea of Novorussiya is very very real and the attitude of the average Russian leaning person in odesa makes its possibility even more real. Crimea was accomplished purely by passive attitudes that very much exist in Odesa. some of these brain dead fools dont give a damn who runs the place as long as they get theirs.
Special Note to U.S. Citizens Traveling Abroad
"A final note: it is possible to go to many Asian countries and participate in the sexual tourism scene without breaking any laws there and still be prosecuted when you return home because what you did would have been illegal in your home country. For example, the age of consent in Japan is 14; it is possible to legally have sex with a 14-year-old girl in Japan and then be prosecuted for child molestation, sexual assault on a minor, etc., when you return home. About 30 Western nations have laws to this effect. Those laws differ greatly from country to country and there is little information available on how often they are used.
Although an act of sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old child is illegal in the United Kingdom, it is not an unlawful act in Spain, under Spanish law."
GOVERNMENT OF THE CRIMINALS, BY THE CRIMINALS, AND FOR THE CRIMINALS
If you want to understand occupied Ukraine -- whether Crimea, or the Donbas -- remember that Putin is, at his core, an organized crime boss. He is a godfather who managed to take over civil government as well.
Ukraine, like Russia, suffers from a heavy degree of organized crime. But most Ukrainians will tell you that the south and east of Ukraine -- those areas where more people identify themselves as "Russian" -- are notorious for gangsterism.
Where Russian soldiers allied with Ukrainian traitors to subvert the rule of Ukraine's government, that was the "green light" for local mobsters to seize full control. Indeed, when thugs occupied Crimea's parliament building, the instantly "elected" new prime minister (who still holds that office) was Sergey Aksyonov.
Before his miraculous rise to high political office, Aksyonov had one career attainment: he was one of the most notorious gangsters in Crimea. In "Salem," one of Crimea's criminal mobs, he was an underboss known by the nickname "Goblin."
This longish article:
details how the Russian government has integrated Crimean criminal gangs into its administration of this occupied territory.
How does government by criminals (see my post above) affects ordinary people in the zones of Russian control? Here's a first-hand account from an ordinary businesswoman who was imprisoned because a personal enemy denounced her to the "government":
Excerpt: "[The businesswoman] insists the government must put down the separatist revolt, which she considers 'pure terrorism' on the model of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's Great Terror. 'It is a real partisan conflict,' she says. 'People are afraid to leave their homes. They are hiding; they are resisting in any way that they can.'"
Students of Nazi Germany may be aware that similar practices occurred there. If you didn't like a neighbor, had a business rival, or simply wanted a person's apartment, you could write a letter to the Gestapo accusing them of some capital offense (homosexuality, for example) and get them out of your way.