Continuing this story from PolitNavigator, I am in the middle of translating (based on the written transcript) the videotaped interrogation of a certain Ukrainian soldier named Vasily Zhemelinsky who was captured by the Donetsk Peoples Republic (DPR) Separatists in the town of Peski. Vasily and a few others had been ordered on a reconnaissance mission which failed badly; all were captured, killed, or wounded.
In the vid the interrogator disguises his/her voice, but I am surmising this is a regular military interrogator and not the reporter, even though the interrogator is designated in the transcript as P.N. (for PolitNavigator). The ideological purpose of the transcript and the published story is to show how the Ukrainian army are violating the ceasefire and shelling the city of Donetsk each and every day, sometimes just randomly shooting it up for no valid military reason. Large-caliber weapons are used, especially at night, with the apparent motives of (1) destroying infrastructure and (2) demoralizing/terrorizing the local civilian population.
Where we left off, Vasily had given up the name of the Commander of the Second Company, one of the men who had ordered him to launch rockets and mortars in the general direction of the Donetsk urban center. The name he gave, most certainly a lower-level war criminal (assuming Vasily is telling the truth) was Konstantin Vasilievich Tsymbal.
P.N. Can you give his full title and position.
V.Zh. 34th Battalion, Second Motorized Mechanized Infantry, Ensign Konstantin Vasilievich Tsymbal.
P.N. And … ?
V.Zh. Well, in general, he is a commander of the Second Company. But sometimes ordes are issued out the HQ, I don’t know their names, they go by the call signs “Atlas” and “Oper”.
P.N. Besides them, do you know the names of any other concrete persons who participated in these violations of the ceasefire?
V.Zh. Like I said, this was the Second Company, where I was assigned to Signals. I only know about them. “Gumka” — there is another name, he is part of the Company, he gives orders, and they are carried out by the servicemen, each man in his own position. Whenever he gives an order, it is carried out to the letter.
P.N. How do the servicemen react to carrying out such orders? Factually there is no need for them to shell the city.
V.Zh. Well, it’s like this… A man is given an order, he has to carry it out. In principle there is really nothing he can do about it.
P.N. And this sort of thing goes on every day?
V.Zh. Well, if we’re talking about the large-caliber weapons, not necessarily every day, but on a regular basis. Rifles, and large-caliber machine guns, yes, every day, especially in the evenings.
P.N. In other words, it gets worse at night?
V.Zh. Yes, that’s correct. Daytime is so-so. Only rifle shooting during the day, but when night approaches we go for the bigger guns.
P.N. Tell me about your conditions of service. What kind of benefits do you receive, what is the morale like?
V.Zh. Well, morale has gone down, everybody is sick of this, many [soldiers] want to go home after their rotation [in the so-called “Anti-Terrorist Operation” zone]. There are some who are dedicated patriots, who want to fight to the end, and so on. Weapons systems (Russian боекомплекты) are brought in and are available in abundant quantities.
P.N. I get it about the weapons systems. But what about the uniforms and so on?
V.Zh. In that regard, it’s mostly at one’s own expense. Or the volunteers help with the food, the uniforms and the medicines. Mostly, however, we purchase all this with our own money.
P.N. In other words, crudely speaking, your commanders don’t bother with your feeding and material needs?
V.Zh. Well, they sort of do, but not as much as they should. Mostly it’s at our own expense. They bring some produce, they might bring you a uniform, but only once a year, and might be the wrong size, so you have to have it altered, and so on.
P.N. What is the attitude of the commanders to the rank and file?
[to be continued]