Interviews with Igor Strelkov

Igor Strelkov’s Interview, June 7, 2014

Translated from Russian by Gleb Bazov / Edited by S. Naylor & @GBabeuf
Subbed Video:

I believe that the situation will change for the worse, because now this so-called “legitimate” President immediately will turn to NATO countries, to Western countries, for help, asking, first and foremost, for military help.

We can then expect to be confronted with new NATO tanks, helicopters, aircraft, advisers, instructors, mercenaries. There’ll be greater numbers of shells, troops and victims. That’s all I expect from this so-called “inauguration.”

This morning [June 7, 2014] there was again artillery shelling of the Artem neighbourhood of Slavyansk. There our checkpoints are located along the perimeter, but the enemy regularly shells homes in civilian neighbourhoods. Specifically, the shells exploded here; here, near the Lenin Hospital; and here.

The enemy can “boast” that they finished off two of their broken-down “BMD” APCs. Well, more accurately, not “BMD” APCs, just APCs. These we’d long ago stripped for spare parts. So they hit these empty shells; they finished them off, so to speak.

With respect to infantry, we’re facing a ratio of approximately 5-6:1. For every one of my fighters there are five to six enemy soldiers. This is specifically with respect to the troops stationed directly near the city. Apart from that, there are also fifty to sixty pieces of heavy artillery, which are dedicated specifically to shelling the city. Also one or two Grad systems. A lot of tanks. These elements we cannot, unfortunately, engage directly, given the distance of one-and-a-half to two kilometres.

All in all, the ratio of forces remains very much not in our favour. So, although the enemy’s moved a portion of its forces from our theatre and transferred it, as far as I can tell, to protect the border, nevertheless, we’re having a difficult time holding our ground. As a result, first and foremost, we need active help in the form of armoured vehicles, long-range AA elements, and artillery. This is because the greater part of the enemy artillery force conducts attacks from positions that we’re unable to reach.

That’s to say, they bombard us from long-range positions of absolute safety. All we can do is dig into the ground and build reinforced installations, but we’re unable to counteract them in any way. Unfortunately, our mortars simply don’t reach the positions of their heavy howitzers. No wonder, since we’re facing such calibres as 240mm. The holes left by shells from these weapons in Semyonovka are easily identifiable.

It’s long been apparent to anyone with even a superficial interest in military affairs that it’s far easier to storm an intact city than a destroyed city. The Germans, in their time, got confirmation of this rule at Stalingrad. Yes, they’re counting on being able to force the population out of here. And they claim that [once the population evacuates] they’ll be able to storm the city. In fact, this is simply an excuse to save face.

A significant part of the population, at least in Semyonovka and Cherevkovka, has already left. Semyonovka has barely any inhabitants left; the same with Cherevkovka. And yet, they don’t attempt to storm them. There’s one simple reason why: they understand full well that they’ll suffer significant casualties. Their infantry doesn’t exhibit sufficient fortitude, whether in attack or in defence. In effect, they’re simply exacting revenge against us for precision strikes against their artillery positions, their checkpoints, against their armoured vehicles. They’re taking out their anger by carpet-shelling civilian neighbourhoods. In theory, it’s possible that they believe they’re firing at our positions; however, in ninety percent of cases they hit areas where we have no fighters present.

They conducted strikes against Nikolaevskaia Power Plant specifically with the intent of taking it out of commission, so at to cut off electrical supplies not only to our city, but to a whole number of cities in the north of the Donbass region. In fact, this was a direct attack intended to destroy the infrastructure that feeds urban and industrial regions. The same can be said about the continuing bombardment of industrial locations. In sum, we’re witnessing purposeful destruction of the industrial complex. You can draw an analogy with an old joke about a Ukrainian who says “Even if I can’t eat it, at least I’ll bite it.” In other words, if I  can’t have you, no one can. About right…

I’m predicting that not only the Slavyansk region, which at this time acts as a shield for the Lugansk and Donetsk oblasts/provinces, but also the entire territory of Lugansk and Donetsk regions will turn into a battlefield. It’s obvious that no one will stop this military operation; no one is intending to terminate it. More than that, military elements are being used that are entirely excessive in fighting against small guerilla units. In fact, these elements are more-or-less useless. In a manner of speaking, they’re using cannons to shoot down birds. All of this will continue further: it’ll be transferred to Donetsk, to Gorlovka, to Makeevka, to Lugansk, to all the other cities and parts of the region. At least that’s how the Ukrainian army is acting. These are the conclusions that can be drawn from what the Ukrainian army is doing.

This will turn into a humanitarian catastrophe not just at the scale of a city, but on a regional, possibly a world scale. I say this because there are over six million inhabitants [in the region] who’ll become the targets of this very stupid, very unprofessional, very careless military machine. While guerillas (and we are, in fact, guerillas), i.e. militia, are able to defend cities, are able to repel infantry and even tank attacks by the enemy, we are, unfortunately, incapable of defending the region from air-strikes and artillery bombardment. Equally, we’re unable to destroy [artillery and aviation] because the ratio of the opposing forces remains disturbingly [not in our favour].

Regardless of how many volunteers we’re able to field (and, first of all, we’re unable to arm all of them: to this date we lack everything—rifles, ammo, anti-aircraft elements, and, most importantly, anti-tank defence systems, including anti-tank artillery), and even if we receive all the necessary equipment and are able to match [Ukrainian] regular forces in combat, this would nevertheless lead to a complete humanitarian catastrophe in the region. Unfortunately, without peacekeeping forces (I obviously mean Russian peacekeepers, as no other peacekeeping force would be accepted by us here, nor considered a “peacekeeping force”), the region will descend into bloody chaos and lawlessness. Everything that was built over decades will be lost, destroyed.

The Lugansk Republic also finds itself in a very difficult military situation. They must think of defending their own territory, their own cities and population. The one thing I can note is that we’re coordinating our activities with the garrison at Lesichansk. This garrison made a request to be included in our command structure. Together with this garrison we’re defending this part of the front.

Q: Poroshenko promised Putin that, in the nearest future, the war will be either brought to an end or suspended, in some manner. In your opinion, what did he mean when he said this?

A: I believe that what he meant is that the Ukrainian army will steamroller over the entire Donbass region, will eliminate all those who rose up against the illegitimate Kiev government, all those who rebelled against the discrimination directed against the Russian people, and that, in this manner, he’ll bring the war to an end. I think this is what he had in mind. An oligarch who sponsored the so-called “Maidan,” who made the most warlike claims and adopted extreme positions while still a Presidential candidate, who is a puppet controlled directly by the United States of America, this oligarch cannot change who he is in one day or one night. Of course, what he means is that he plans to “impose order” with the iron fist of his punitive forces.

Bluntly speaking, we saw how they “impose order” from the example of Krasniy Liman. That’s why we’ll, of course, resist to the last man. We’ll resist successfully; I’m emphasizing this again. The real problem isn’t that we’ll be unable to defend ourselves or to withstand attacks by the Ukrainian forces, the problem is that if this war continues indefinitely, the region will suffer a humanitarian catastrophe. As a result Russia will become the recipient of millions of disenfranchised, impoverished and angry refugees. Everything that was built, created over decades, if not centuries, will be destroyed.

We continue to prevail over them again and again, on all fronts. Nowhere have they been able to achieve a victory of any real significance. They were able to overwhelm our garrison of one hundred in Krasniy Liman by throwing against it a force of three thousand troops and assaulting it from all sides. Even so… Where they have to square off against a more-or-less trained, numerous, minimally provisioned force, they always, regularly, suffer defeat. They can’t advance even one step. Their tactics consist of filling the landscape with troops, tanks, APCs, and artillery, and defending themselves, in hopes that, without numerical and equipment parity, we would be unable to push them from their positions. In effect, their positions at Mount Karachun are an example of this approach. We’re unable to kick them out of Karachun first and foremost because their force is at least three times the size of my garrison [in Slavyansk].

We’re blessed with excellent morale and fighting spirit, our fighters are highly motivated, while the enemy have a great deal of old, but still effective, “metal” [Note: i.e. armoured vehicles] that fights against our militia.

The Ukrainian mass media lies—lies without end. They lie so unapologetically that Goebbels would’ve envied their style: he’s probably turning in his grave right now. So they have an interest in ensuring that no one else is able to provide this information. And, because Western media, to a large degree, plays along with its Ukrainian colleagues, and provides only such information that benefits Ukraine, the Russian media becomes their natural enemy. Thus they consider the Russian media their direct enemy in the field of informational warfare.

With respect to international laws and norms, they never cared for them one bit. For example, here they use cluster bombs and similar [illegal] weapons. They fire on, and, as you correctly pointed out, eradicate entire townships from the face of the Earth; they shell cities; they’ll continue in this manner with ever-increasing [brutality]. This is because they experience no material opposition [to what they do]. They have no other tactics. They’re unable to take up their weapons and go on the attack, to storm our positions face-to-face with us, despite their profound numerical advantage in troops. As soon as their infantry faces direct combat, it retreats. They retreat even if supported by tanks. They abandon their tanks and retreat. They understand that their infantry isn’t combat-ready. Their only option is to shell us from afar, again and again and again, and hope to inflict the greatest possible destruction.


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