Interview by Alexander Kots and Dmitry Steshin
(Komsomolskaya Pravda (“KP”))
Translated from Russian by Gleb Bazov / Edited by S. Naylor
In the opinion of the Commander-in-Chief of the DPR (“Donetsk People’s Republic”) Militia, the announced ceasefire is merely a ploy to allow [Ukraine] to regroup its forces.
The news of a ceasefire immediately spread across Slavyansk. Where there is electricity, people learned about it through television, where there is none – with the help of radios that still catch the signal of the Kramatorsk radio station. The first thing that we asked [Strelkov] about:
Question: Will any of the militia fighters take advantage of the amnesty and leave the city using the announced corridor?
Igor [Strelkov] noted that simply leaving their positions is out of the question for the militia:
Strelkov: If anyone wants to leave the militia for one reason or another, he must first take part in the engineering-building works. This is [a requirement] that is independent of Poroshenko or any [purported] ceasefires.
However, the ceasefire itself has not been felt by any of the militia fighters or the civilians of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk. According to Strelkov, he found out about the peace initiatives at 7:00 pm, when he received a call and was told about the unilateral ceasefire by the Ukrainian side:
I smiled skeptically, told us Igor [Strelkov].
Strelkov: I thought to myself that we’ll find out at 23:00 whether this ceasefire is real or not. For many days now, at this time (when in Moscow it’s midnight), the enemy lobs its ammunition at us or at Semyonovka or Kramatorsk. Using two or three [artillery] batteries. I was wrong. The artillery strikes began at 21:30. Two [artillery] batteries, at four guns each, hit Kramatorsk, which is when the ceasefire ended. In the morning, an SU ground attack fighter bombed Kramatorsk, it missed, but that changes nothing. For me, such “ceasefires” are [imaginary]. Forgive my expression, but I could spit at such ceasefires.
Having been entirely disappointed by the peace inititiative of the Ukrainian side, the militia attacked the enemy early in the morning:
Strelkov: The checkpoint at Krasniy Liman was hit at close range with AGS (automatic machine grenade launcher). We inflicted serious losses to enemy manpower at BZS (refuelling station). Using RPO-A Shmel (reactive or rocket-assisted portable flamethrower), our intelligence-gathering group conducted a strike against their rest and encampment positions, hitting the windows precisely.
Question: Supposing, for a moment, that they will, after, cease-fire and establish some sort of corridors … Would anyone want to leave?
Strelkov: Yesterday alone, we received approximately 40 volunteers. Today, I am expecting around 50. To date, I have witnessed only an inflow of [volunteers] to our region. People join the ranks of the militia, receive weapons and take their places at our combat positions. Any outflow is insignificant. Of course, we do get craven people, there are also deserters. There are those, who, having come under fire, become terribly afraid and announce their desire to [leave]. As in any army, their share is about 10%. I think that there will be no one willing to take Poroshenko’s offer either in the Slavyansk garrison or the in the garrisons of the neighbouring cities.
According to Strelkov, his initiative shows that Poroshenko is trying to keep a good face while playing foul. Even now, Ukranian force, in large columns, are moving from Berdyansk to Mariupol and, from there, to the North – North-East. Their intention is to assume starting positions for an offensive along the border.
According to [Strelkov], they are planning to cut off the Lugansk and Donetsk oblasts from their natural food and fuel supply channels – channels, which theoretically, could be used for equipment and weaponry.
Strelkov: In the end, we are still hoping that Russia will help us sooner or later. But, for now, the Ukrainian side will conclude concentrating their forces in the course of the next twenty-four hours, will conduct new air and artillery strikes, and will commence an offence along the border in both direction – from the North and from the South. No other conclusion is possible, unless, of course, Vladimir Vladimirovich personally intervenes in this situation and takes some sort of measures to completely undermine the plans concocted by the Kiev occupation powers.