I got a phone call in Popasna (the Luhansk region) on Thursday:
- She military you showed in your reportage yesterday has perished.
You want to scream at such moments.
"Hot" Zaitseve. Interview taken on the day before death on red front line. Part 1
"Hot" Zaitseve. Interview taken on the day before death on red front line. Part 2
“What TV channels do you have here?”
“We have satellite TV now because a usual TV antenna catches only the signal from Horlivka. We do not want to watch it not because we are so patriotic, but because they show such depressing things and you understand how much propaganda is there.
Ok, maybe I’m zombified by our propaganda, but when you switch on separatist channels, you cannot watch them for more than twenty minutes.”
“Where are you from?”
“I was born in Lviv but I live in Kyiv.
This one came from up there, there have been separate hits in this area. This house is unlucky, you can see craters in the vegetable patch and some shells hit the house as well. This house has endured a lot of landings. People came here, took debris away and left.”
“Do locals come to clear debris away here?”
“Yes, people who live here do. Only about 30 percent have left and they all live 2-3 kilometres away, on the occupied side. A person who lives on the occupied territory, listens to their radio, communicates with those people and then comes here and sees that the house is destroyed and I am standing near it... Of course, this person will be sure that it was me who destroyed their house.
They come and tell us: “You were shelling us”. I answer them: “How could we do that? Our positions are in another direction.” - “No, those were you.”
During my first year here, I tried to prove something, but now I do not do this any more. If you cannot think with your own head, then how can I help you?”
We keep walking along the street. Every house there has holes in the walls or in the roof.
We approach another damaged house. “Godzilla invites us to come into the courtyard. He tells us how many shells and mines have hit it.
“When did the majority of people leave?”
After New Year when the attacks started. There were waves of those who were leaving. Zaitseve is big and whole districts are moving out. For example, now they are mostly shelling this district and residents of these streets leave. There is one more district which has got under fire a couple of days ago, so probably people will start deserting it.
Those who stay here will not move anywhere. They are either elderly ones who no one cares about or crazy mothers with their kids, they claim “I have no place to go”. As far as I understand it, it is better to live at a railway station then here.
There is this woman here, she adopted four or five girls. She gets loads of humanitarian aid.
I do not mind humanitarian aid, but in this case — just put her in the car and take her away. The Governor comes here, for example and sees this. Can’t our authorities give her one single room? Any room in Artemivsk will be better then living here.
A separatists’ observer used to live in this house."
“How did you spot her?”
“SSU or counterintelligence, some professionals did that. They just inform us at some point that a special operation is to be conducted in our area.
The funniest thing is that there are legends about us here, saying that we are Nazis. We were trying to understand the reason for a long time and then we realized that it was because we are called “The National Guard”. The National Guard equals the Nazis in their minds.
So, that woman who was an observer did not understand who had captured her. When she was brought here and it turned out that she would be taken to prison, she betrayed all her comrades in the first half an hour. She had thought that she had been captured by the Nazis and they were going to take her somewhere to bury alive, to execute or to kill. And then, when she discovered that she would just be imprisoned, she was so happy that she betrayed everyone.”
“Didn’t you know that an observer was living there?”
“How can we know that? We cannot break into a house and search it. Observers used to use microfilms and maps years ago but now they just need a mobile. They telephone artillerists and say: “Popova street, three metres to the right.” How can we catch her?”
“What happened to her?”
“I do not know, actually. Who cares about her? She is only a bitch who will do anything just to damage us and to help separatists.”
“What about supplies, do you have any problems?”
“Everything is fine and it has always been fine. This is why when they start saying that we lack something, do not believe them. Trust me, I am far from being a lickspittle, I am quite categorical in this respect.
Since last February when I came, we have had everything.
Now they come and ask: what do you need? I do not need anything, I would be happy to give something I have away. Food and clothes get spoilt here and we ask volunteers not to bring us anything. It had been like this since my first day here.
The only problem we have is with water. Zhebrivsky said that he had solved the water problem but it is not true. There is no water here.
Situation with ammunition is the same. There are some things we lack, but all the Army lacks them, as far as I understand. We only do not have enough grenades for under-barrel grenade launchers or flares.
Legends that there are problems with supplies in the Army come from the first wave. Of course, then, at the beginning, we did not have anything. Since the fourth wave we have not experienced such problems.
There used to be one drug addict and alcoholic here. He would lose something or exchange it for alcohol and then he would call his mum and say: “I was not given combat boots”. His mum went to a deputy, they made a big fuss and an inspection came here. But the answer was simple. This person has already left the Army.”
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