Video: Igor Strelkov Press Conference, July 28, 2014
Transcript: Igor Strelkov Press-Conference, July 28, 2014
Igor Strelkov: Seven don’t wait for one…
So, here’s how it’s going to be… [sighs deeply]
I didn’t know that my humble persona is so popular…
So, in brief. In brief. I’ll be speaking briefly, and well, whoever wants to hear it or whoever doesn’t—it doesn’t make a difference to me anymore.
Heavy fighting on multiple fronts
IS: So—today, the Militia was engaged in heavy fighting in the area of the cities of Shakhtersk, Torez, Snezhnoye; in the area of Saur-Mogila; in the area of the strategic height 198.3; and in the area of Marinovka and Stepanovka. The battles were particularly fierce. The enemy, by means of strikes from the south and from the north, is attempting to complete the encirclement of the Donetsk grouping of the Militia.
At this time, the battle taking place directly between Shakhtersk and Torez is ongoing. The Militia is attacking the enemy, seeking to force it out of the strategically important Checkpoint No. 20, which is located at a T-junction between Torez and Shakhtersk.
I can say that the enemy has engaged in these battles today a quantity of armoured equipment that even to me appears unusual. In other words, I’d say that as many as two hundred or even two hundred and fifty armoured vehicles were involved—to be honest, I’m having difficulty estimating how much armour the enemy engaged in battle today. Simultaneous strikes were, I repeat, commenced from the north and from the south. The attacks were directed at Snezhnoye, Torez, Shakhtersk, Saur-Mogila, Stepanovka, and Marinovka.
Ukrainian offensive has been repelled
IS: As a result of fierce fighting, the majority of the enemy’s attacks have been repelled. Near Marinovka, three officers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were taken prisoner, and one tank and two BTRs were destroyed. The enemy attack on Stepanovka was also repelled, and Stepanovka remains under our control.
At this moment in time, a heavy battle for Saur-Mogila is ongoing; nonetheless, Saur-Mogila remains in the hands of the Militia. Also repelled were the enemy’s attacks on the strategic height 198.3, which is located to the south of the settlement of Dubrovka, which also remains in our hands; and also directly, around two hundred metres away from the territory of Russia.
Proof of Black mercenaries in Novorossiya
IS: In the course of this battle, four tanks and four BTRs were destroyed—they all burned up. Among the killed there are mercenaries of the Negro race. If you can get there from the side of Kuybyshevo, the commander of the local unit of the Militia is prepared to provide to you, for the purpose of shooting video, the corpses of the killed [mercenaries]. They still lie untouched on the battlefield—specifically so that they can be captured on video. How you manage to make it there is your own concern; however, in this case, I’m providing you with the information.
This isn’t the first time we’ve had information about mercenaries sitting inside armoured vehicles, closed shut; but now we have the opportunity to demonstrate this to you. If you go there, there are people waiting for you. However, I don’t know whether you’ll encounter Ukrainian troops en route or whether they’ll shell you; but whoever takes the risk of going there will be able to shoot this footage.
The enemy is starting to retreat
IS: Furthermore—as I already mentioned—there was a heavy battle in the area between Shakhtersk and Torez. We eliminated, all told, seven or eight armoured elements—at this moment, I’m unable to tell you how many exactly were destroyed—as well as a large number of enemy soldiers. Our losses, unfortunately, totalled approximately thirty men killed and wounded: well, the larger part of them was wounded. The fighting there is ongoing. We’re expecting to restore communications between Shakhtersk and Torez before night comes. As the attack is coming from both sides, the enemy is already starting to retreat. They’ve also been retreating from Saur-Mogila, Stepanovka and Marinovka.
The situation in Gorlovka
Question: What’s the situation in Gorlovka?
IS: In Gorlovka, fierce fighting continues. At this time, I’ve no further information about Gorlovka. I just returned from Shakhtersk, and haven’t received it yet.
Q: They’ve been saying that Igor Bezler has retreated from Gorlovka.
IS: I won’t comment on this information.
The Prospects for the Militia
Q: Can you sum up briefly: what’s the situation and what are the prospects at the moment?
IS: I won’t evaluate our prospects because not all the operational issues are clear. I’ll only say this—the enemy is throwing into battle everything it can muster in order to complete the encirclement of the Militia grouping near Donetsk.
New York Times asks about Malaysian Airlines Boeing MH17
Q: [in heavily-accented Russian] Mr. Strelkov, from the New York Times newspaper, did you shoot at the Malaysian Airlines aeroplane?
Translator: Did you shoot at the aeroplane of the Malaysian Airlines?
IS: Actually, I only served as a conscript in the Ukrainian Anti-aircraft Defence Forces, and, in fact, only as a soldier in a sentry regiment tasked with defending [anti-aircraft systems]. So, if you believe that a soldier of a sentry regiment who never saw anything other than an automatic rifle can shoot at an airliner…
Q: But what about your men?
IS: I never had any “Buk” systems under my command. All the more so, and accordingly, I couldn’t have given [my men] an order to shoot at the Malaysian Airlines aircraft.
Intensification of the Ukrainian offensive and the OSCE representatives
IS: Any other questions? Two or three more questions, and I’ll be finishing.
Q: Igor Ivanovich, Donetsk 24 here: in your opinion, is the intensification of attacks by the Ukrainian military connected with the arrival of international monitors who need to get to the site of the catastrophe? You see, it just so happened that they moved their forces to Shakhtersk exactly on the day of the arrival of the international monitors.
IS: Well, admittedly, they began their offensive on the eve [of the arrival]; and the movement towards Shakhtersk, they began the previous evening. They marched all night and arrived at their positions in the morning. I won’t take it upon myself to judge whether this was connected with the arrival of the OSCE representatives or not.
It’s possible that it was connected. Or, perhaps they simply wanted to demonstrate their outstanding successes—because they’d hoped to take control of Shakhtersk and Torez in the course of one day.
Rumours that Donetsk will be abandoned
Q: Igor Ivanovich, a question. I spent two days near Peski and then went to see the wounded fighters in the hospital. Both there (among the units that are fighting [in Peski] day and night) and here (at the hospital), someone’s working very hard to spread rumours that the hospital’s being evacuated and that Strelkov’s preparing to abandon Donetsk. I’m asking for your official response to this.
IS: What this represents is that the hospital has been partially evacuated. Last night, over one hundred and twenty of our wounded were evacuated to the territory of Russia. As I can’t preclude the possibility of Donetsk being besieged on all sides, accordingly, I have to ensure the safety of my wounded comrades.
Hence they were evacuated last night, and, without incident, reached the border with Russia. A part of the medical staff and the defence unit that escorted them are also on the territory of Russia. The core part of the hospital’s medical personnel remains on site and continues to perform its duties. All the main surgeons remain at their posts.
Q: So, in other words, there’s no talk of withdrawing from Donetsk?
IS: Today, yesterday and last night, units of the Militia were being redeployed from Donetsk—on a fairly large scale—in order to take part in a counterattack near Shakhtersk. After completing their assigned tasks they’ll be returning to Donetsk. In fact, they’re already returning.
Further commentary concerning Malaysian Airlines Boeing MH17
Q: Igor Ivanovich, it’s very important for the world community to know your opinion with respect to the downed airliner. It’s very important that you provide some kind of commentary with respect to the downed aeroplane.
IS: I can’t make any comment because I don’t know how and in what manner the aeroplane was shot down. I only know that it was shot down, and that’s all. There’s only one thing that I can say—my subordinates had no part in bringing it down.
Q: And what about Igor Bezler?
IS: No, Igor Bezler is actually in Gorlovka. The aeroplane was shot down elsewhere.
Russian support to the Militia
Q: Igor Ivanovich, what kind of support in your operations are you currently receiving from Russia?
IS: Primarily moral support. Anything else?
Press conference chair: Gentlemen, thank you. I already gave you answers to these questions.