English transcript of amazing Donetsk National Republic press conference
(See also article "The Donetsk National Republic states the facts about its conflict with the Kiev regime".)
In this video Alexander V. Zakharchenko, who is now Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Donetsk National Republic, declares, "Let me clarify. No federalization can be possible today. There is time for everything. We asked for the federalization 3 months ago, then we asked for a permission to hold a referendum. That time has passed, now we want to live independently. The Ukrainian authorities are using police methods to subdue us: they arrest us, cordon us off, and conduct anti-terrorist operations against us. By now so much blood has been spilled and so many people have died for freedom. How can we speak of federalization?"
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[Alexander V. Zakharchenko, Chairman of The Council of Ministers of The Donetsk National Republic] As you all know, a week ago we announced our plan to attack. We started it yesterday.
Until yesterday we have been preparing for the attack, examining trophy equipment, arming the crews, and testing communication between different military formations.
I can now proudly announce that we formed 2 tank battalions, 2 full artillery brigades, 2 Grad divisons,
1 mechanized infantry battalion, 3 infantry brigades and a special purpose assault airborne brigade.
All these units have now received Army numbers.
The communication system have been regularized and 2 field hospitals and 1 maintenance brigade have been formed.
We have begun testing all these units in battle. Yesterday we began an attack on Amvrosiyivka enemy group.
According to our data, in the course of the offensive, the enemy lost about 45 units of military equipment, we captured 14 units of military equipment, and about 1,200 people were killed and wounded.
There are two cauldrons at the moment, in Amvrosiivka and Starobeshevskaia.
We started to advance at 4 a.m. on Elenovka, where the fighting is still going on.
2/3 of Elenovka is under our control. We hope to clean up these areas before the night. However, the offensive will not end at that.
We will continue until we free all populated areas in the Donetsk National Republic.
The army is ready and we have the support of the people. There will be more and more prisoners.
Now regarding the Parade. I deliberately put the trophy equipment on display on Lenin Square.
Everything that will come to us from Kiev, will end up in the same condition sooner or later.
The more will come, the easier it’ll be for us to restore our economy.
As you may know, metallurgy is one of our main industries.
I would like to thank the Minister of Defense for the close cooperation, understanding of the challenges facing the government, for his unlimited capacity to work and for his personal courage.
[Vladimir Kononov, Defense Minister of DNR] Dear journalists, TV audience, I would like to appeal to you.
The Ukrainian aggressive occupation army came on our soil. They brought a nationalistic ideology that has no respect for human life.
Their only interest is in our territory and resources.
They launch their vile attacks on residential civilian complexes with grandmothers, women, and children.
Just yesterday they fired on a residential quarter and killed a 9-year-old girl. There was no militia there.
They use sneaky tactics of mobile mortar groups that come to a place, shoot at it for 10-20 minutes, and quickly leave.
We already have all data on the movements of these mortar groups. They will be neutralized soon.
Now regarding the armed forces.
This is a uniform force with the principle of undivided authority that prevents disobedience and disorder, contrary to those who call the DNR army Makhnovist, etc.
It's a lie disseminated by the Kiev’s junta as well as by those who have unleashed tanks, Grads, and artillery against its people.
You can now ask your questions.
Does the militia fire on the houses?
Let me correct you right away. We were the militia 10 days ago. Today, we are the armed forces of the Donetsk National Republic.
The DNR’s armed forces by no means try to strike on residential neighborhoods and houses.
We don't and never will practice this. This is our homeland, our soil, and our Motherland.
This is a war on our territory that we want to preserve. We're not animals. We are not fighting in Kiev, we are fighting at home.
Channel 1, Moscow. How would you characterize the Ukrainian armed forces’ response to your offensive? Were they aware of it? Are they in confusion, resisting or rolling back?
Most likely they knew about our counter-attack as we did not make a secret of this. They didn’t know the time and place of the attack.
There are regular army officers who, unfortunately, at some point graduated from the Soviet military schools and the Academy.
They were preparing for different options, and have guessed some of them. The fighting was heavy because the regular units fight well.
The regular army really fights, gets defeated, but never gives up.
Those who roll back are the battalions of Shakhtersk, Aydar etc. They are usually easy to attack because they retreat at the first shot and never engage in direct fire contact.
They usually retreat and call on the regular units, and then they start to attack together.
Again, the fighting is very heavy.,You can feel the enemy’s superiority in their quantity of equipment.
To give you an idea of the intensity of the fighting: we cross about 40 km in the day.
The Parade of prisoners of war we’ve seen this afternoon, isn’t it against all humanitarian conventions and motions of dignity?
As a lawyer, I can say that we did nothing against international law.
The prizoners were not undressed or starved.
Show me a single international law, which prohibites parading prisoners. We have not done anything illegal.
What was the purpose of this parade? Were you trying to send a message to Kiev? Why did you make a decision to parade the prisoners of war?
Kyiv said that they will march in parade in Donetsk on the 24th. So they did.
Poroshenko didn’t lie: they were here together with their hardware.
This week Lugansk received humanitarian aid from Russia. Are you waiting for such help, and when do you think you can expect it to come?
We expected it yesterday, even before Lugansk.
Our city’s population is bigger than Lugansk, so it was logical to send it to us first.
But situation in Lugansk is much harder, so it was sent there first. I hope that we will receive our help soon.
Are there any negotiations about the terms of delivery?
Yes, the negotiations were conducted on the same day as Lugansk, but, unfortunately, we didn't get it.
Will Lugansk share their received help with you?
As practical business managers, we would like it. However, from the humanitarian position we understand that the situation is more difficult there.
We have to rely on our own resources for now. Hopefully, help will come soon.
there are historical parallels with July 1944 and the March of the Nazis. Did it happen by accident or was it done on purpose?
Honestly, we have recently seen one of the insignias of the 2nd separate brigade: the complete emblem of the Galicia SS Division, a 79 SS Galicia badge.
When we saw the full symbol of this Division... Many Russian families suffered losses in the Second World War. One of the ancestors in my family fought against the Galicia SS Division.
This is not just a parallel, this is generational: my great-grandfather, and now I, and the same division…
That’s why a desire was born to repeat 1944 so they would realize that it all already happened before, it has repeated itself with the same result.
Every time you come to Russia with a sword, “from a sword you will perish”.
Unfortunately, dear journalists, the West tries to invade us with a regularity of 30-50 years.
That is, every 30-50 years the Western civilization tries to impose on us their opinion and their way of life.
The First World War, the Great Patriotic war, the Crimean war before that and so on well into the depths of history.
As a result, the West traditionally gets the fall of Berlin, Paris, etc.
There is Maidan every year In Kiev – “Those who don’t jump are Moskals”.
The West comes every 30-50 years to get what it deserves. Now in 2014, they are slightly delayed.
What kind of aid do you now get from Russia?
individuals and certain organizations send us food, clothes, and medicine.
Ramzan Kadyrov has collected humanitarian aid worth of $70 million, which is now waiting in Rostov.
It was not a state program, it’s from the Republic and the President of Chechnya.
....experts in artillery from Samara?
I will invite several officers of the French Navy, who want to fight with us.
They are willing to give an interview. We have Europe fighting amongst us.
The European ideals of equality, fraternity, and the French revolution, as in the Marseillaise, resonate with the patriots of France.
It means, the nation is not dead, since it has such representatives who are willing to go to the far away place to fight for their ideals, which the Bastille was once taken for.
Yes, there are volunteers: the French, the Russians. Is it a bad thing? It’s great.
Are there regular Russian military units fighting on your side?
If you think that Russia is sending its regular units here, then let me tell you something.
If Russia was sending its regular troops, we wouldn't be talking about the battle of Elenovka here.
We'd be talking about a battle of Kiev or a possible capture of Lvov.
Now there is a war on our soil for our territory. We have an influx of volunteers from all over the world.
Of course, the Russian help would be very desirable, but from a political point of view it is impossible and unrealistic.
Thanks, by the way, to the European countries. You do not acknowledge this war just as you did not acknowledge the great Patriotic war, didn’t you?
You support the anti-terrorist operation against terrorists and separatists.
Have you not developed a Charter of free territory, I believe, in Switzerland?
A Territory has a right of self determination and separation after a referendum.
Germany lives by the same principles. There will be a referendum in Scotland soon.
That is, you call your own principles democratic and carry them out (almost) democratically.
The example of Czechoslovakia was peaceful. Yugoslavia, unfortunately, was torn into a thousand little pieces by you. Using military methods by the way.
We have the same thing happening here.
That is, if you stop pursuing a policy of double standards and will be able to understand that people live here.
What is our fault? The fault of Donetsk, Donbass, our land?
That we are asked to live independently? That we wanted to live the way we want? To speak our language? To make friends with whom we want?
We didn't want to go to Europe. We have different mentalities, religion.
But we have a different religion. We want to go East.
We wanted to live the way we want, but we were not allowed to. We were called terrorists and separatists.
Please note, we did not capture any regional administrations, nor did we scorch district departments. That’s what the Maidan did.
Slogans: "No oligarchy”, “Equality and brotherhood", "Freedom of religion and language", "Freedom of choice".
All these slogans are from the Maidan. We want the same thing. So why are we the bad guys?
What did we do to deserve being bombed from planes?, shot at from tanks?and have phosphorous bombs dropped on us ?
Explain to me what an anti-terrorist operation is?!
There police forces and intelligence services are involved, and not regular military units, military vehicles and aircrafts.
Dear journalists, please correct me if I am wrong.
If we are terrorists, then the police and the security service of Ukraine must fight us.
30, 25, 95, 72, and 76 - the entire Ukrainian army is present on our territory.
Three conscriptions, the national guard, territorial battalions, private battalions Aidar, Azov, Shakhtersk, Donbass, Dnieper-1, Dnieper-2, Dnieper-3, battalion Kiev, and now Kryvbas.
What have we done? What is our guilt? The fact that we have shale gas, for which you want to erase entire Slavyansk from the face of the earth?
Or any other financial interests?
We are all descendants of the glorious ancestors. We all have ancestors that we are proud of.Only between the two of us there are two Heroes of the Soviet Union.
We are still able to hold weapons in our hands. We swallowed with our mothers’ milk a pride and desire to live in free and happy Donbass.
We’ll tell anyone who comes to harm us on our soil: we will fight tooth and nail for our Motherland.
Kiev and the West made a big mistake by awaking us.
We are the hardworking people. While others were jumping on the Maidan for 300 grivnas, our people were down in the mine, mining coal, melting metal and sowing crop.
None of us had time to jump, we were busy working.
When a person who just yesterday worked with a jackhammer or operated a harvester, today got behind a steering wheel of a tank or Grad, or picked up a machine gun, the line has been crossed and you cannot stop him.
The one who left his job knows that he will fight to the end and to his last breath.
You may pass it on to others: do not wake the beast. Just don’t.
While there is still an opportunity, let mothers spare their sons.
For some, perhaps this will be terrible news: there still lie several hundred soldiers of the armed forces of the Ukrainian army under Panovka, Saur-Mohyla, who are unaccounted for.
Families receive “missing in action” letters. They are actually dead. Kiev authorities do it on purpose.
Hundreds and thousands dead in more than a dozen graves. I announce it officially.
Let everybody know if you received a "missing in action" letter, then most likely, your husband, brother, or son got killed.
[Vladimir Kononov] I can you give an example from the battle of the 72nd and 25th batalions against us in Shakhtersk. I have all the documents of the soldiers who burned near the wrecked machinery.
We returned the bodies to the Ukrainian army. Two weeks later, we received information that they were “missing in action”.
Why did they bother to pick up the bodies?
It was reported that the Ukrainian army from the beginning of the conflict had 12,000 killed, 19,000 wounded and 5,000 missing.
They are not missing, they were killed and buried under Karachun, in Krasnyy Liman…
They were dumping bodies from a helicopter with stones tied to their feet into the Blue lakes near Slavyansk.
Vladimir Petrovich, let's not excite our press with such gruesome details.
Poroshenko said that all 120 people out of 1200 who participated in the Parade in Kiev, will go to the East.
Now I want to say: I don't want to fight. It wasn’t my choice, but I'll fight till the end for my land, no matter who, when and how numerous they were.
This is a battle of annihilation. Unfortunately, the Slavs are fighting among themselves and destroying their best people.
We want to reach out to all the relatives and mothers: do not send your sons here.
Leave us alone. Let us live free and in peace.
We didn’t come to you in Kiev, Dnepropetrovsk, or Zaporozhye. We are not marauding your villages, raping your women, killing your elders and stealing their military decorations.
Remember decorations for Stalingrad, the capture of Berlin, Gold Star medals, Orders of Glory, Orders of the Red Banner, mixed up with women's earrings?...
We don't do that. We want to live on our land the way we want. We don't need you. We are different.
Ukraine of the East and the West is an artificially created conglomerate. However, we didn’t start this war.
If someone has a political conscience, a will and a courage of a real man, I'm just suggesting to stop this operation.
You don’t have to recognize our status, just leave us alone within our borders of Donetsk and Lugansk republics, and we will kiss each other goodbye.
A question from the French newspaper Libération. When will a press conference with the French internationalists, that you mentioned, take place?
They will arrive tomorrow. Talk with Vladimir Petrovich tomorrow. Contact him through his press Secretary.
Do you think the meeting with Poroshenko will bring any positive solutions?
Let me clarify. No federalization can be possible today.
There is time for everything. We asked for the federalization 3 months ago, then we asked for a permission to hold a referendum.
That time has passed, now we want to live independently.
The Ukrainian authorities are using police methods to subdue us: they arrest us, cordon us off, and conduct anti-terrorist operations against us.
By now so much blood has been spilled and so many people have died for freedom. How can we speak of federalization?
What is federalization? This is a series of bureaucratic procedures that need to be done.
But we want to live independently. We have very rich land.
Talks about subsidies is a lie perpetrated by thieves to steal money. Each President understood this very well and always participated in it.
We are a self-sufficient region with its agriculture, developed industry, forests, fields, and seas.
We have everything from a “Switzerland” to the sea.
Resort areas, agriculture, chemical and coal industry, rich minerals, gas deposits, etc.
Despite close ties with the rest of Ukraine, we can and must be able to feed ourselves.
If they do not understand it in a good way, then we will ask them in a hard way.
I hope that the meeting between Poroshenko and President Vladimir Putin will lead to the taking of our position into account.
About the law in relation to people who are in prison.
Please specify what kind of law you are talking about.
On what basis these people have been arrested?
We have recently adopted a new criminal code and the creation of court-martials and tribunals. Is that what are you talking about?
This is not a law, this is a provision that we have discussed in the Council of Ministers and then submitted to the Supreme Council.
The Supreme Council gave us a go-ahead. Are you asking about people who were arrested prior to this or after?
At the moment we have mostly detained soldiers who violated military discipline and the oath of allegiance.
A court-martial will have to deal with it. Now regarding the rest.
Since the adoption of this law, all detained civilians were transferred to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of State Security for their hearings.
Depending on the sentence, they will either be released, or subjected to administrative punishments in the form of community service from 10 to 30 days.
Donetsk Detention Center came over to our side, so civilized places will be used for detentions.
For further clarifications you can enquire at the reception desk of the Deputy Prime Minister or to appeal to the Prosecutor General.
A question about the death penalty.
I'll be honest, I think the death penalty is the highest form of protection of society.
You probably remember that my first decree was to fight banditry.
Yes, this is a widespread phenomenon, because all sorts of criminal elements penetrate under the guise of a revolution.
We must fight it now so we wouln’t have to hunt these paramilitary groups down later. That was the reason behind this decision.
After the long discussions it has been decided to adopt the death penalty.
You all know perfectly well that the abolition of the death penalty does not reduce crime.
Statistics show that with the death penalty abolished crimes “for some reason” tend to go up.
The society, ordinary people, and private entrepreneurs have to be able to live and work in the safety. We made a decision to guarantee their security.
For details, please familiarize yourself with the code. It is written in quite clear language.