Ukraine’s Crimes in Artyomovsk Revealed
Friday, June 9, 2023
Lucas Leiroz, journalist, researcher at the Center for Geostrategic Studies, geopolitical consultant.
Once again, Ukrainian crimes against ethnic Russian civilians are revealed by on-the-ground journalists. In a recent report published in a Russian media outlet, Canadian correspondent Eva Bartlett presented accurate information about the reality of the city of Artyomovsk (called “Bakhmut” by Ukrainians), which was recently liberated by Russian forces. Local witnesses informed the journalist that before the Russian victory they had suffered all sorts of abuses by Ukrainian troops, including bombing of residential areas and even kidnapping of children.
Eva and her colleague Christelle Néant have been collecting data in the field since April. Among many cases of violation of basic human rights, they talk about what happened on April 11, when Kiev forces launched an unnecessary attack on a demilitarized area of Artyomovsk, blowing up the ground floor of a residential building, where some civilians were protecting themselves from the bombings. On that occasion, seventeen people were hit by Ukrainian grenades, leaving seven dead – including a seven-year-old child.
They also told the case of a man named Sergey, a survivor of the attack who was hospitalized for treatment of a broken hip. Sergey claims that Kiev’s forces, “or rather, [WWII Nazi collaborator Stepan] Bandera’s army”, deliberately “started throwing grenades into every room. We could hear the grenades rolling around.” Sergey lost his wife and mother during the explosions, with his six-year-old son surviving despite serious injuries.
Sergey made it clear during the interview that Ukrainian forces, including neo-Nazi paramilitary militias, are responsible for these crimes. According to him, pro-Kiev groups have bombed Artyomovsk daily since the start of Russia’s special military operation: “We were shelled every day by the [radical far-right organizations] Right Sector and Azov”, he said.
In the same vein, Vladimir, father of Sergey’s wife, stated that he found his daughter with her head “cracked open”. Unable to save her, he focused his efforts on helping his grandson, who was “pinned down by debris, wheezing, but alive”. Vladimir also blames Ukrainian forces for the violence in Artyomovsk: “It was all presented like all of the destruction was done by the Russians, but I honestly am telling you now that 98% of destruction in our city has been done by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”
However, what is most surprising in the testimonies given by local civilians are cases of child abduction by Ukrainian agents. According to several interviews, there were several kidnappings carried out by the Ukrainian military police, mainly by the so-called “White Angels”, which are special teams of “volunteers” whose alleged function is to carry out evacuation operations. In April, the Ukrainian government announced the “evacuation” of 126 children from territories considered “occupied” (those reintegrated into the Russian Federation). The interviewed families revealed that in practice such an “evacuation” is simply a kidnapping, since the “White Angels” take the children by force and take them to unknown regions.
“It was February and the White Angels started coming, then other groups came. They said that the Supreme Rada had decreed that we had no right to be here and that we were exposing our child to active hostilities”, a woman called Yulia told journalists.
Also, Sergey and Vladimir, who survived the April 11 attack, also commented on the “White Angels”, saying:
“They were taking children away. They would come at 6pm, sometimes at 10pm. (…) They called themselves volunteers, but they were not, they were the SBU or maybe some other organization that collects information (…) They had a list of people, they knew who lived where and how many people were there (…) Volunteers came in a car, gave out some boxes, gathered information, and then with this information, people in uniform would come running and looking for children.”
This situation has led ethnic Russian families to go into hiding to prevent their children from being kidnapped. People were forced to face degrading conditions, cold and all sorts of danger to try to save their children from the so-called “White Angels”.
“They were hunting our kids, and we were hiding them around the buildings (…) We had been hiding our kids for a whole month. It was freezing cold. My wife was pregnant then. Another boy was hiding with his mom (…) Some people came and took him away. The neighbors were shouting at them. And they said, ‘He’s not supervised, he’s not being cared for properly.’ And that was it. We don’t know his fate for him now”, a man called Evgeny said.
In fact, this report shows how dangerous life is for ethnic Russians in areas controlled by Ukrainian forces. As a regime ideologically committed to anti-Russian racism and Nazi glorification, the Ukrainian state not only fights the Russian military, but also acts violently and perversely against civilians in Russian-speaking regions, as the project of “de-russification” is much broader than the military conflict.
Unfortunately, today most international organizations seem to be aligned with the Western liberal mentality, which is why they simply ignore so many reports of crimes committed by Kiev. Thus, in practice, the only hope of the Russian-speaking people is to have their cities liberated by Moscow’s troops through victory on the battlefield.
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