Vitaliy Ovcharenko is one of the so-called "ultras" of Donetsk "Shakhtar" football club, a civic activist, a fighter of volunteer battalion, a voluntary servant, and a journalist. In the interview with the journalist of ONLINE.UA Yaroslav Grebenyuk, Vitaliy spoke about "rumbles" between ultras, early political career of Pavel Gubarev, calculation of uniformed “green men” without insignia in the Crimea and the first deadly clashes with separatists in Donetsk with that the war began in 2014.
"I did not believe that all this will result in war thinking, perhaps, not only Sevastopol will obtain the special status, but, say, all the Crimea"
- I continued to visit Kiev and return to Donetsk, then I went to the Crimea at the time of the separatist "referendum" (March 16, 2014, - ONLINE.UA). We walked across Simferopol, counted "uniformed “green men” without insignia", there was a girl-journalist from Chernivtsi with us, Vladimir Khanas from Ternopil, we also met Luhansk human rights defender Kostya Reutsky.
Green men in Simferopol
By the way, that day I saw here how a Russian television shoots scenes: when just in two meters there are fifteen people, they shouted waving Russian flags; a journalist with a microphone comes in front of them, the camera zooms in and thus creating the effect of the crowd. I've made even a photo of this process.
And here we go counting the "green men", and we called by a journalist from Sevastopol, and he tells us there is some shooting occurred in the 13th photogrammetric center of Naval Forces of Ukraine; there are victims. That sniper killed the ensign Kokurin (murder took place on March 18, - ONLINE.UA). We arrived there; everything was cordoned off, then we tried to enter, and "Crimea's Self-Defense" has not allowed.
We stood in the darkness for a long time discussing the situation, then strange men with guns began to come in cluster nearby. We understand well that to argue in the dark with armed men is not very interesting and began to think how to get out of here. Here we were lucky, the Austrian film crew arrived, we got with them up to the car and left the place.
Then I did not believe also that all this will result in war thinking, perhaps, not only Sevastopol will obtain the special status, but, say, all the Crimea".
- Wait, you were in the Crimea on the referendum, and on March 13, Maidan in Donetsk was blown, and the separatists have killed your friend. It turns out, you did not participate in the event?
- On March 13 I has been in Donetsk and participated in those events.
- And immediately after the massacre you went to the Crimea?
- Yes, I has participated in all, this time was so fun.
In Donetsk there was such a situation... First clashes with titushky began: police stepped aside and stood there laughing and looking at how they beat activists with blue and yellow ribbons, including women, old people.
"A part of "titushky" spoke with a Russian accent, they did not know our city "
- Before the March, 13, there was the rally on March, 5. With all due respect to the "Donetsk self-defense", it was a rather a club of interests: to get together, to talk about the fate of the motherland, to analyze the situation. We, the ultras, understood that upon the heavy-handed option they will not have chances, so we decided to organize ourselves to protect the rally.
Separatists were a few times more, we decided to use the following tactics. When the rally has been attacked, we being a group of 60-70 people (all had the experience of "rumbles") selected a point, then attacked it, beat, and then stepped back in an orderly manner, and moved to strike a next point of separatist crowd.
There were ten times more, having sticks, gas cartridges, most of them spoke with a Russian accent, they did not know our city. They were imported blokes. My friends from Khartsyzsk told us that bus ride from the Rostov region, Russia, there was a bus from Voronezh, it drove on the highway from Luhansk. We determined their coordinators: trained eye notices everything.
- What were these people? Did they know how to fight?
- No, they did not know how to fight. But they were very aggressive, so hatred, just burned with anger. And so we came to blows allowing the peaceful participants of the Ukrainian rally to disperse. Then 40 ultras people left, and the police took them into the ring. I was lucky not to get caught. I and Dima Cherniavsky (press secretary of the Donetsk regional organization "Svoboda", he was then killed on March 13, 2014, and was posthumously awarded the title Hero of Ukraine, ONLINE.UA) watched from the steps of "Ugleprom" building: our friends were surrounded, captured in the paddy wagons, and taken out. On that day I have last seen Cherniavsky alive. We walked a little more: pro- Russian titushky still run, so it began: they blew a fuse, beat everybody, began to fight with one another ...
- Devilry as it is ...
- Yes, the orgy was absolute. On March 13, when Cherniavsky was killed (I did not recognize about it), the police did not do anything. Drove on two their buses and offered to hide there from separatists. I did not go there as instinctively thought about a "mousetrap": and so it turned out. Those who rushed to the buses got even tougher. Separatists knocked out windows in the bus, threw firecrackers there.
- Did you have already used "means at hand"?
- No, I fought with fists, somehow still kept traditions. But the separatists had batons, baseball bats, iron bars. They began to break from the beginning of the meeting.
"Shakhtar" ultras with red arm bands
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