Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Donetsk People's Republic

Donbass: truth and fiction

28 October 2015
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Breaking through the Information blockade and sharingtruefacts about situation in Donbass are important and relevant like never before for everyone who cares about the destiny of our young Republic.

At the present moment activities on providing the world community with objective information about events in the DPR are developing rapidly; more and more people are joining this struggle for freedom and truth.

We are particularly pleased with the factthat a growing number of representatives of the European mass media want to know the true situation in the Donbas, even if it is contrary to theofficial position of pro-American governments of their countries.

One of these fighters for freedom and truth is Olga de L., a reporterof the international community Vox Populi Evo who visited DPR in order to see with her own eyes how our citizens live.

Please see below her impressions of this trip.

"I came to Donetsk People’s Republic from the Netherlands as a reporter-volunteer of Vox Populi Evo. This is an independent community of volunteersuniting translators and editors from Russia, Ukraine, Europe and USA.

Nowadays information war is going full speed. In this regard, one of the objectives of VPE is to provide Western audience with objective information about what is happening on the territory of Novorossiya and Ukraine. European and American TV channelsaren’t really objective: they are blaming “Russian invaders” and rebelsfor the shelling of residential areas and infrastructure while casual ties among the civilians aren’t even fully disclosed. As for the amateur videosin the Internet showing the genocide of the population of Donbass, since they are Russian spoken, theyaren’t available for the English-speaking viewers.

VPE is normally publishing on theYoutube channel amateur videosas well as the materials ofthepartner resources with English subtitles added. However, it has always been a dream of mine to visit Donetsk People's Republic, to see with my own eyes a new state being built, to talk in person with people who survived the horrors of the fratricidal war and to shoot own videos.

Thanks to the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of DPR my dream came true!

My first impressions of Donetsk were: what a beautiful city, sparkling clean streets that you will not find in many European capitals! At first, it’s even hard to believe that just a short while ago shells were exploding here. Atmosphere of the city is amazing;you just want to stay andlive here.

However, as soon as you go to the outskirts of the cityshops burnt down by bombing, ruined pharmacies, multi-storey buildings with marks from the shell hits and windows taped up with paper appear on the side of the road. Old lady living on Kiev Avenue who survived the bombing told me how she was hiding in the basement for months and the militiamen were sharing their rations with her and the neighbors. In some moments Valentina Stepanovna could not hold back the tears and made me promise I’ll drop by some time for tea and pancakes.

That’s what the residents of Donbass are! And this is the message that I would like to get out to European and American audience: not "terrorists", but hardworking and compassionate people with big hearts are living here.

I knew Horlovka from the heartbreaking videos we've been making translations to. The bodies of children torn by shells, horror of people counting dead bodies on the street, "One, two, three, four ...", with a single question in their eyes: "What for ??"

Today’s Horlovka met us with an autumn sunshine and ....afeeling of long hoped-for peace. Despite the announced arms withdrawal,shells of the Ukrainian artilleryare still landing every now and then on the outskirts and people have to watch out for snipers and tripwires. But the town is alive and recovering with truly amazing speed. As I was told, often just a few hours after a building was hit by a shell, emergency team was coming over and starting work on repairs. Nobody was waiting "until the war is over", though a shell could fly in right away into the newly renovated house. At this point, for some reason Odessa, Ukraine came to my mind. There the balconies on the main streets are often collapsing as beautiful old buildings have not been repaired since Soviet Union times.

Horlovka has working hospitals, schools (albeit with distance learning for children from the front line zone). Gas pipeline destroyed by Ukrainian army forces is being repaired, to ensure that town residents will meet winter in warm houses.

Situation in Debaltsevo is more complicated. It will take long time to bring back to life a town that was being wiped off the face of Earth by the Ukrainian artillery. Nevertheless, one can already seebrand new slates on the roofs of some houses. There wasn’t a single person from the locals I met on the streets who wouldn’t lose a relative in this war. They were telling me that before leaving town, National Guard was placing tanks in front of the residential houses and firing directly at peaceful people.

Here is a panel house in the center with pitch black windows and a burnt balcony on the fourth floor. A woman tells me that fortunately she was hiding in a bomb shelter when a shell flew into her apartment. Two days later she returned to the ashes of the place that used to be her home…

In the end of my stay we travelled toward the Sea of Azov. Novoazovsk is a cozy resort town, luckily almost untouched by artillery fire. Telmanovo village which issome 30 kilometers from there is much less fortunate. Wizened old woman living in the house with the windows covered with film instead of glass, invited us for a coup of tea. And then on amixture of Ukrainian dialects and Russian she told us that for many months she had to survive the bombing in the basement along with her old man. She remembered the day Ukrainian troops entered the village: men with assault rifles were driving people in cluding kids and the elderly from their homes and basements and putting them on their knees.Soldiers called it“cleansingthe village from the separatists".

These things are hard to forget or forgive and the Donbas residents cannot imagine returning back to Ukraine. According to them, the government that kills its own people doesn’t have a right to run the country!

I would like to appeal to the journalists from foreign mass media: don’t be afraid to come to Donetsk! This is a marvelous, friendly city. See with your own eyes what is happening here and tell your readers and viewers.

I’d like to note also that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the name of Alena Kochkina, provided all necessary assistance.They ensured my personal safety and at the same time gave an opportunity to shoot videos freely in various cities of DPR. Donetsk People’s Republicsets no limitations ongathering of objective information, even for the reporters from Western Europe.

I’m very much looking forward to re-visit Donetsk in the near future and I would like to wish the young republic to return as soon as possible to peaceful life.As for the Donetsk residents, I’d like to wish themstrength and faith that the most difficult months are left behind".