Ukraine conflict claiming civilian lives

July 18, 2014
Aftermath of Ukraine government attack on Kramatorsk.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is trying to make good on his announcement on July 11 that his army, or the fascist militias fighting alongside it, will kill “dozens and hundreds” of people in the east of the country for every Ukraine soldier dying in the war his regime is waging there.

Since his pronouncement, his armed forces have been bombarding cities and towns in south-east Ukraine. Fighter aircraft, tanks and other armoured vehicles are engaged.

The heaviest shelling in recent days has been directed at the city of Luhansk and surrounding villages. A leader of the self-defence forces there, Igor Strelkov, told RIA Novosti there is fierce fighting in the suburbs of Luhansk, which is located not far from the Russian border.

“The enemy has thrown in about 70 tanks consisting of two compact armored groups. There is unconfirmed information that a helicopter with a SWAT team landed in the city,” he said.

Strelkov said some 30 civilians have been killed by shelling and fighting in the last several days.

In a video story, the Guardian reported that shelling hit houses and apartment buildings, factories and town squares in Luhansk and in the town of Marinka near Donetsk city overnight on July 11. Strelkov told the Guardian that a milk factory and a cattle feed factory were destroyed and 30 citizens were killed.

Standing in front of an apartment building damaged by shells a resident told the Guardian: “I have no words to express my outrage, fear, confusion. Look at this [pointing to the building]. Look at this—this is the true face of Petro Poroshenko.

“He is not our president. This is his true face.”

On July 13, the Guardian said: “Marinka, a nearby farming town, was hit with a barrage of artillery for the third day running. The assaults have caused large-scale destruction of apartment blocks, businesses and restaurants.”

Mikhail Alexeevich Krylov, a representative from Independent Donetsk Miners’ Trade Unions, sent an appeal to the British group Solidarity with the Anti-fascist Resistance in Ukraine on July 14.

He said: “We need to explain to you the true state of affairs in Donbas [the region of south-east Ukraine opposing Kiev’s rule]. The real picture of what is happening has been misinterpreted or hushed by European media ... we — the miners — are forced to fight with weapons in our hands for the sake of our lives — in the name of survival!

“Our interest in this confrontation is one: end the bloodshed! The end of the war will be the trial of the war criminals that began it.

“In Donbas, there is a real war in which civilians are killed: including the elderly, women and children. You are blatantly being lied to that this war is between Ukraine and Russia. But it is not so! The war is between the people and a handful of oligarchs with the support of the EU and US authorities.

“The tragedy in Ukraine is that, those in power, managed to infect the people with certain fascist ideas. We, the residents of Donbas, fight against all manifestations of nazism and fascism. We fight with weapons in hand, for our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

“We have nowhere to retreat — this is our land! We appeal to you, the workers of the European countries, asking for your help and solidarity: help us break the stronghold of fascism in Ukraine.”

[Abridged from]

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