Residents of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region describe in interviews how they’ve been marginalized, attacked and gaslit by hostile military forces, contrary to the Western media’s portrayal of Ukraine.
In recent interviews published by American independent media organization RAIR Foundation, residents of the separatist regions recognized as independent republics by Russian President Vladimir Putin last month discuss suffering PTSD due to repeated attacks from the Ukrainian military over the past 8 years.
“It all started around June 2014, when we decided to separate from Ukraine. So they started shelling us… mornings and nights,” one woman recalls.
“My husband and I went to vote in the referendum,” she continues. “We were walking there while they were shooting at us, under artillery shelling.”
An older woman agrees, saying she remembers seeing leaflets telling residents to the leave the area around the same time.
“They were dropping leaflets on us in 2014 saying we should leave immediately, take ourselves and get off the land because it does not belong to us,” she says. “They don’t need the people who live here; they want our land and our coal, but they don’t need the people.”
Footage in the video purports to show Donbas residents digging through the rubble of a demolished building searching for survivors.
“Ukraine was shooting at us,” an interviewee recalled realizing. “They hate us.”
She continued: “When they started bombing us, killing children, women and the elderly, I understood that they hate us, even though we didn’t do anything to them; we didn’t start a war against them. They started it.”
The woman also described psychological manipulation by the Ukraine military, who told residents they brought the attacks on themselves with advanced military artillery.
“They say we attacked them, that we bomb ourselves. When it all started, they said they were not using weapons against civilians… They were bombing us using all kinds of unlawful weapons: cassette bombs, Grads, Uragans.”
A Ukrainian mom with her three children also explained how the Western media presents a warped, whitewashed perspective of the situation ignoring certain facts, while skewing others with a pro-Ukrainian slant.
“Regrettably, the information war is ongoing,” she explains. “Somehow everybody is always saying, ‘Help Ukraine!’ ‘Help – we have families, we have children.’ We also had children and families eight years ago…”
“And now… in the MSM, there are too many things that are simply not true.”
Last month, Putin acknowledged receiving calls for aid from the people of Donbas prior to launching a “special operation” in the region, saying, “Its goal is to protect people who have been subjected to bullying and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years.”
The interviews highlight a perspective ignored by the West in order to frame Russia as enemies of freedom, but the Donbas’ people’s voices must be heard in order to understand the true nature of the ongoing war.
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