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Last week I visited the Lugansk People’s Republic now part of Russia, or as it is called NovoRussia and had the opportunity to speak with Ukrainian prisoners of war (POW’s) as well as defected Ukrainian soldiers who are now fighting for the Russian army.
The first visit was to the POWs who were all basically sitting at a table “sadly”, their heads bowed down full of what I guessed was shame and perhaps anger on the part of some.
My question to them, or actually it was not a question but comments, was how it actually came to the point that “brother” people are standing against each other on the battlefield. I also told them that the “majority”, i.e. the non-indoctrinated population in the West, now knows that the war is a proxy war of the U.S. and its NATO allies and they are the proxies who have to die for the West. The West also now has a new war, the war against Palestine, the escalation in the Middle East and arms supplies to Ukraine have almost stopped.
I saw some of them look in agreement, but given the measures that could of course be taken by the Ukrainian regime against their family members or loved ones, by the SBU (Ukrainian Secret Service) they couldn’t answer. But some of the men very cautiously shook their heads in agreement with my arguments against them and the war they had to fight.
According to Western reports, both Ukrainian and Russian prisoners of war suffered various forms of abuse during the Russian invasion (as the West calls it an invasion) of Ukraine, such as mistreatment, exposure to public curiosity, torture, or even execution.
During my visit to these prisoners of war, I could not discover whether they had been tortured or ill-treated. These POW’s as how they looked have probably been mistreated by Ukraine itself, they had recently been captured, and from what we know from the defecting soldiers, the Ukrainian army is in short supply of almost everything.
The West is accusing, as I said many times before, Russia immediately without a thorough investigation (s). For example in August 2022, on a special mission, under the protection of the Russian army, I visited the Yelenovka prison, where members of the extremist AZOV militia were imprisoned and some are still imprisoned in the (not) destroyed part. Most of the members had been transferred from the Azov steel factory to this prison and were awaiting trial.
Immediately after the destruction, on July 31, 2022, the Russian government offered the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross the opportunity for their experts to investigate the attack on the Yelenovka prison
At the same time, with the offer for investigation, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dmitry Polianski, announced that he has just informed UN Secretary General António Guterres that Moscow has “irrefutable evidence” that “Ukraine is responsible for the attack ”.
According to the statement of the Russian government in August 2022, a total of 193 prisoners of war were in pretrial detention at the center when a rocket was fired by the American rocket launcher HIMARS, which hit a section of the prison, killing 53 people. HIMARS were only delivered in August 2022 and the Ukrainians shot them daily at Donetsk city in particular, but their training with these HIMARS left much to be desired and so things could easily go wrong, as probably in this case, or it happened on purpose, without research we won’t know.
The Dutch journalist Sonja Van den Ende asked questions to the Ukrainian prisoners, about why they are fighting against their brothers and made remarks on how the West is using them in their proxy war against Russia. pic.twitter.com/AMg7zCwhGE
— sonja van den ende (@SonjaEnde) February 2, 2024
“Very sad prisoners with no illusions about the fate of Ukraine, one could tell from the expressions on their faces.They were mainly from central Ukraine, one of them from Kiev, another from Vinnytsia. The men still wore Ukrainian uniforms, or some some civilian clothing. One of them had a large bandage on his head, following an injury most likely during his capture. Their faces express most of all sadness and moral fatigue. You could almost feel sorry for them“.
The men had probably just been captured and therefore looked starved, perhaps they are defectors like the ones we met in a secret place somewhere in Lugansk. The men we met there looked better, well-groomed, well-fed and full of courage to fight against what they call the “Banderites”. The term a Banderite or Banderitas means that the person in question is or was a member of the OUN-B, a faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, nicknamed “Bandera’s people”. Or a member of, or one who subscribes to the ideas of, the political movement of Stepan Bandera.
A deserter, now fighting for the Russian army, told about his experience in the Azov steel mill, where the Azov battalion was stationed and eventually surrendered in May 2022. I myself visited the Azov steel factory in June 2022 and again after that.
“The Azov Nazis or Banderites imprisoned the population of Mariupol in the catacombs of more than five floors, they were elderly, women and children. The Russian army used, probably, in the end, the starvation method, as President Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered for these Nazis because they did not want to attack the factory, they knew there were civilians there used as human shields. The Azov Nazis/banderites used all the food themselves and caused many of the prisoners to starve to death, including children. Later in August 2023 I saw the refrigerated/freezer truck that stood on the immense site of the factory, where the bodies of fighters and civilians were cooled, until there was no more electricity and of course the smell was unbearable”.
These deserters actually confirm what we journalists have reported many times that parts of the Ukrainian army consisted of battalions such as the AZOV battalion in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the AIDAR battalion in the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), now both part of Russia.
The West has also confirmed until 2022, until the start of the Special Military Operation, that there were many neo-Nazis in Ukraine, we can all still remember the torch marches in honor of Stepan Bandera, which are still held annually in Kiev and other places like Lvov in Ukraine.
These defected soldiers, commanders, etc., probably could no longer cope with this and decided to desert after their capture, or some who spontaneously chose the other side. They will also have seen many crimes committed by the Ukrainian army against the Russian-speaking population in the Donbass, not only in Mariupol, but also as I wrote in a recent article, the mass murder in Lugansk, a good example of which was the murder due to fire on the elderly in a nursing home.
Many crimes committed by the Ukrainian regime were not investigated and were immediately dismissed by the West as being done by the Russians. But there is too much evidence and witness statements from the population in the Donbass, who did not flee, but stayed, saw their homes and often relatives die from attacks by what they say is the Ukrainian army and above all the battalions with a Nazi right-wing extremist -ideology.
The West promised a lot and also sent many weapons “for peace”, leaders in the West all, unofficially, declared war on Russia and talked about the glorious Ukrainian army, which was invincible and would bring the Russians to their knees. But after seeing it, my own experience, last week and hearing the reports, the Ukrainian army is a “pathetic bunch of misery”.
The West should be ashamed to use these Ukrainian soldiers, but also the population, for their own aspirations and in addition to doctrinaire their own population and now, according to what we can all read, prepare for yet another war, with mandatory military conscription, everything for the enemy: Russia.
Photo: At the top are the Ukrainian prisoners of war (POW) and at the bottom are the deserters who are now fighting for Russia. Photos and editing: Mirjam©Photo