The underside of conflict: Pieces of bodies, prisons, and POWs

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Fort Russ, Feb 11th 2016


Original article and photo credits (first and last two): Expert Online 
Translation originally published at Tatzhit Liveleak Channel and Slavyangrad
Translated from Russian by Tatzhit Mihailovich / Edited by Tiago de Carvalho and Gleb Bazov



Foreword by Tatzhit:
While the original of this interview was published some time ago, such powerful evidence is largely timeless.
Another reason why it’s very much worth reading is that it goes deeper into what civil war is really like.

RUN AWAY FROM HERE! RUN WHILE YOU’RE STILL ALIVE!  (Original Title)

Expert Online reporter Marina Akhmedova interviewed Donetsk
People’s Republic (DPR) “Committee for Prisoners of War” official, Lilia
Rodionova. Marina Akhmedova presented a list of names—Ukrainian soldiers
who went missing back in August 2014. “We don’t have them” was the
answer given in the Cossack unit in Sverdlovsk, where their mothers
thought they might have been. Responses from the Donetsk Ministry of
State Security and other directorates of the DPR and the Lugansk
People’s Republic (LPR) were identical. The mothers of the missing
soldiers claim that their children have been taken to Russia by FSB
operatives. Every day they are told that yet another inquiry has been
fruitless, but they keep asking: “Why can’t we find our children?”

“Remeniuk,” Lilia Rodionova (LR) reads the
surnames on the list. “Remeniuk was killed in action. His mum already
knows about it. They just have not come to terms with it, even though
there is a DNA match. The parents still refuse to believe it.”

LR: For instance, I talk to one father every day—for
fifteen years, his son worked in Moscow, then came home for a vacation,
stayed a day, and literally the next morning the military commissars
came and conscripted him. He had some kind of special ankle boots. The
father was asked to identify the body by the boots, but he refused. He
was told: “If you don’t want the one in the boots, just take that other
one.”

I also had a case where they got a DNA match three times, but the
mother refused to agree with the results. After all, a mother knows her
son. If a grown man was missing a tooth, he is not going to grow it
back. They were giving her a body with an extra tooth:

– I’m sorry… but a tooth won’t grow just like that… I won’t take him.
– What do you mean? He’s a DNA match. Take him.

Marina Akhmedova (MA): So, are you saying that these DNA test results were forged?

LR: I don’t know. It’s hard for me to judge what
goes on there. But I am often confronted with the fact
that people refuse to believe that their children are dead, even if
there is a DNA match. Swindlers have already cheated Remeniuk’s mother
out of about fifty to sixty thousand hryvna. They promised her to bring
him back.

How did it start? It began with rumors that Russian soldiers took
them prisoner. I had a list of forty people. Remeniuk was on there,
Karpov too, Oleg Chizh. The mothers claimed they were supposedly held in
Lefortovo, (St. Petersburg, Russia). Wait a minute… (She recounts a
dialogue with the mothers):

– What does your son do?
– A mechanic.
– Yours?
– A plumber.
– Yours?
– A teacher.

Who needs them in Lefortovo? They are common soldiers—would anyone be interested in them? No one! They aren’t there, of course.

There were isolated cases when the wounded Ukrainian soldiers from
the Ilovaisk cauldron were taken to Russia. To take them here, to
Donetsk, was 80-90 kilometers, and the roads were being shelled. It was
closer to take them to Russia, to a hospital in Rostov. We also had
cases when we would bring a POWs family here, and then take them to
Russia, so that he wouldn’t be forced back into the fighting. Because he
didn’t want to go back. But being kept in Russia against their
will—that’s nonsense.

Then there were rumors that they were sold into slavery to Chechens.
It’s as if all the so-called psychics conspired; they started telling
the mothers that they could see their children working in harsh
conditions in brick factories, and next to them—running water.
Then other theories started appearing, that they are working in bootleg
pits, in coal mines. What mines? Here, they all lie in disrepair. The
miners themselves have nowhere to work. Rubbish!

So, now, there is yet another version from the psychics, that they
are breaking polar ice somewhere in the Arctic ocean, or thereabouts—I
have no idea what for. And another—that they are working at grape
plantations in Crimea. And another… And then there is the POW list kept
by the notorious Ruban [Ukrainian colonel-general Vladimir Ruban
is known for his work as an intermediary in POW exchanges –ed.] He lists the missing in action as POWs.

MA: Why does he do that?

LR: I don’t know.

MA: Those missing in action—are they as good as dead?

LR: In ninety percent of cases they are. There are
still places where, perhaps, there are [undiscovered] burial sites. We
are still continuing our search. Just yesterday we found human remains…
In Lugansk, a medical examiner told me: he lives in Khryashevatoye, and
just as all this fighting was happening there, Ukrainian Armed Forces
(UAF) representatives came to him and asked for gasoline. He asked them
why—they told him they needed to burn the bodies:

– Wait a minute! What are you thinking? You mustn’t burn them. If you do, you won’t be able to take DNA probes.
– What about the corpse poison?

And so they told him these myths that people would get infected by
poison seeping from the corpses and die. “Then bury them! You mustn’t
burn them! In the earth they will be good for DNA analysis even seventy
years from now.” If you burn the bodies, all chance of identifying
them is lost.
 

WHO IDENTIFIES THE BURNED BODIES?

 

LR: It’s hard for the people on the other side, away
from the war, to understand that, when the ammunition load explodes,
there’s nothing left of the tank. The metal gets red-hot and melts,
flowing like tar. What body is there to talk about? Everything is
sintered to a piece this big—Lilia shows her fist—there’s no
DNA in that. We can identify the crew only by the unit number on the
tank. There is no other way. I had this one woman come to me, and she
kept demanding and demanding that we give her back her son: “Where he
is? He is not among the captured; he is not among the dead.” And where
is he? Where, indeed?!

In the Starobeshevo area there were body fragments hanging from power
lines and trees. Bodies were torn to pieces. Yesterday we were in
Uglegorsk. We dug up fragments. Guys from the Ukrainian side took them,
but they could not go back because of the shelling. So they spent the
night here, and this morning we finally sent them back. No doubt they
were shocked by the shelling yesterday… Also, foxes and dogs drag pieces
of bodies all over the ravines. We also have to deal with the Ukrainian
side only taking what they want and throwing away the rest.

MA: What don’t they want to take?

LR: In Novogrigorievka, bodies were collected and
then placed in trenches and covered up with dirt. A representative of
the [Ukrainian] officer corps came; her call sign is Changar.
She took only the identifiable remains, but the burnt fragments of
bodies, arms, legs—they just left them there. Who needs a burned body?
Who could identify it?

MA: So why is it that you took them?

LR: To send them to Ukraine.

MA: So you take rotten body fragments, load them up in a car and send them back?

LR: That’s right. In Chernukhino, when people
started coming back to the smashed houses, they would find bits, simply
bits of skull. We would gather what we could, put it in a plastic bag
and send it.

head 

TALK TO THE DRAFT BOARD

 

LR: Chizh, Oleg… I spent a lot of time in phone
calls with his sister. This girl only had her brother, no one else. She
was one of the first to start calling us: “Oleg Chizh! Oleg Chizh, he is
missing!” So we started asking around, “Has anyone seen Oleg?” One of
the POWs claimed to be him, but, once he was exchanged, it turned out to
be a lie. When they asked him why he did this, he said: ‘I heard that
everyone’s been looking for him, and so I thought that if I say that I’m
him, I’d get home quicker.’ This POW turned out to be a liar, and we
all thought that Oleg was alive. We’ve looked for Oleg everywhere, even
in Lefortovo and in Chechnya. And this despite the fact that we already
had a hundred percent DNA match.

MA: Taken from the remains?

LR: Yes. He perished somewhere either on Saur-Mogila
or in Stepanovka. They found his identity disks, as well as his
personalised cross. But, on the other side, for a long time, they
kept telling his sister that he is alive, that he is a prisoner here or
there. I think that most likely this is how  they try to conceal their
losses. We also had this other prisoner, Nikolai Surmenko, from Kherson,
I spent a lot of time communicating with his mum. He is a Chernobyl
kid, all sickly, with diabetes and about a metre and a half tall.

MA: Why did he go fight, with problems like that?

LR: Over there, no one cares—they don’t ask for
their opinion. We’ve seen [Ukrainian] conscripts with missing fingers.
Some even with a history of heart attacks…

“Yes, Yaroslav,” Lilia answers her cell phone. “I’m busy right now, let’s do it in half an hour…” She explains: “This is a call from the other side, the ‘People’s Memory’ foundation. We collaborate with them on the POWs.”

…Back to Nikolai: his mother was worried sick that her son was here,
but she was also afraid that if she got him back, he would be
conscripted again. The whole village was laughing at her; they didn’t
believe her son was fighting in the war. They said, “You’re probably
hiding him from conscription somewhere.” But when he was released and
returned home, they all chipped in and collected five thousand hryvna to
cover his medical expenses…

I had another case—a woman from some backwoods village in western
Ukraine, who had never seen a cell phone, found Ruban’s list of POWs
somewhere, and her son was number two-hundred and something on the list.
She was using Ruban’s list to count off how many had been released, how
much longer she would have to wait. Somebody gave her a cell phone,
punched in my number, and she asked me:

– Please, could you let my son go home?
– Why should we release your son, specifically?
– His birthday is tomorrow. He is turning 19.
– We don’t have him, and never did.
– How could that be? He is on Ruban’s list.

And she couldn’t understand that her son is not with us. Not
anywhere, and not anymore. Do you understand? I always tell them: go
talk to your local draft board, to the military commissars. They are the
ones who came and took your son away. They are responsible for him.
They should be the ones making enquiries. But you know how they treat
mothers there, in Ukraine…

There was just one officer from the Ilovaisk cauldron who called me
every day: “How are my guys doing? What about this one? And that one?”
He didn’t demand that we release them immediately, he simply asked about
each and every one of them, and eventually I learned every one of their
names along with him. He was the only officer who cared for his
soldiers. The only one!

MA: Do you still have POWs at the moment?

LR: Yes. Not many, but we do have them. They’ll be
exchanged soon. I visit them quite often. They have phones and they talk
to their relatives. They’ve got a nursing station in there, and they
get all the medical aid they need. But the wounded ones we try to hand
over as soon as possible. We had a guy from Debaltsevo. He was in this
truck with a small cargo bed, and they were taking out the wounded. It
was cold back then, you know. Their truck was shelled on the
Artyomovsk–Debaltsevo highway. Those still able to walk, they… left the
wounded behind. And this guy, they took his boots and his
wristwatch—”They won’t be of any use to you any more.” You could still
hear the wounded moaning for a few hours, but by the evening it grew
quiet. He was sitting in the cab with a lieutenant. The lieutenant was
twenty-two years old. Also wounded. The lieutenant told him: “Press
against me, so we don’t freeze.” Then the lieutenant died, and he tried
warming himself with the body until the body grew cold too. For three
days he would crawl out of the cab to lick snow, but by the end he
grew too weak to crawl back inside. When the militiamen came and picked
him up, he thought they were angels from Heaven.

MA: How did they understand he was alive?

LR: He was moaning. They brought him in with severe
frostbite. I forgot to tell you: he was a surgeon himself, a military
medic. His blood pressure was almost imperceptible, and his entire body
had frozen stiff. We contacted the other side right away: “Ready your
best doctors!” We wanted to save both his hands, but he lost the right
one.
 

POLITICS IN PRISON

 

MA: Do you have information about the treatment of the captured Militiamen?

LR: They are treated badly, but we don’t take
revenge. We just want them, over there, to finally hear us and
understand that we are human beings, and that we want to be treated as,
and to treat them as human beings. Those with brains will get the
message.

MA: You don’t take revenge because you’re against violence, or just because you want to get your message across?

LR: So as not to avoid violence altogether! They
need to understand us—nobody should act like they do! Even beasts don’t
act like that! It’s true that some civilians take up arms after being
imprisoned. We had one mafia boss here, he lorded over a huge penal
colony before the war. He is from Debaltsevo. One time, after a
shelling, he stepped out into the street to check whether his house was
still standing, and he was immediately arrested as a separatist suspect.
Then later tricked us into taking him in a POW exchange. Afterwards, he
immediately volunteered for the Militia, notwithstanding that they had a
rule in the joint—criminals don’t fight for the Reds or the Whites,
organized crime is beyond politics. Even though that’s no longer
true—these days even prisons have become politicised. When our comrades
are accused of separatism and sent to penal colonies, the inmates do
horrific things to them.

MA: Why do they care?

LR: Well, I guess they are inmates from the other
side,. I don’t really know why they care, but that’s the way it is. Let
me tell you about a different story. Several civilians were captured
near Snezhnoye. At first, they were kept at the Kramatorsk airfield in
the pits with corpses, and later one of these boys was sent to a penal
colony in Poltava and housed with criminals. That’s their
method of re-education—throwing people in with hardened criminals. This
kid was severely beaten, and when the second prisoner, Alexei Zhukov,
was thrown in there, the first one already had all of his teeth knocked
out. Even worse, he has diabetes. So his blood sugar spiked, and he
started having seizures, he was falling into a coma. At that point the
local mafia boss found out about these two who were convicted of
separatism, and the abuse instantly stopped. The inmates would even chew
the food for him. So there are lots of different circumstances.

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IMPRISONMENT CLOSE TO HOME

 
LR: I, myself, was a prisoner on the other side,
too. In July 2014. I started going to Slavyansk, to evacuate the wounded
and the sick civilians who suffered from heart attacks and strokes.
I took everybody I could fit in the ambulance. Then I started going to
Snezhoye. That time I was going to Marinovka to pick up a wounded
Ukrainian soldier and to bring him here, to Donetsk.

MA: Why did you decide to risk your life for a wounded Ukrainian soldier?

LR: What does it matter to me? We spent the entire
day transporting the wounded, and in the end, he was the last one left.
He needed to be transported to a hospital. It was already dark, and we
drove into a Ukrainian checkpoint. I don’t know how it appeared on that
road. They riddled the ambulance with bullets. I have no idea how we
survived. We hid in such small spaces… I don’t even know how we were
able to fit in there.

MA: Who was manning the checkpoint?

LR: Border guards, I assume.

MA: But the Ukrainian border guards supposedly don’t beat or abuse prisoners?

LR: They didn’t beat us. In fact, they were unsure
of what to do. They even pondered letting us go. When I got out of the
ambulance, dressed in medical garb, they swore, astounded:

– Medics?!
– Yes, medics. Whom did you expect to see come out of an ambulance?

We had our flashers on so we could be seen from afar. They shot at us
because they were scared; they thought that we were a saboteur group.
Finally, after much hesitation, they decided to convoy us to
prison. We were sent to Uspenka, from there to Solntsevo, in the
Starobeshevo district. That’s where the physical abuse started. From
there we were taken to the Kramatorsk airfield by helicopter.

MA: What do you mean by physical abuse?

LR: They beat us with rifle butts. I still have
pains in my shoulder from that time. They would strip us naked, though I
am not sure why. They forced us to crawl from the helicopter to the
shooting wall, staged simulated executions.

MA: Did you crawl?

LR: I did not crawl, but the rest had to crawl with sacks on their head. I was led. We were beaten with rifle butts.

MA: What did you feel when you were stripped naked? Shame?

LR: Nothing. I had a bag over my head. I felt
utterly devastated, empty. I’ve been asked since: “Did you pray?” Yes, I
prayed: “Lord help me.” That was all I could think of. They liked doing
it for some reason. It was hard for me to strip, of course. But then I
thought to myself: “If you like it, if you want it, I don’t care, enjoy
yourselves.” Later they allowed me to get dressed. But the bag on my
head stayed on.

MA: So, you didn’t see them?

LR: No. I didn’t. I only saw the sneakers of one of
them, in Solntsevo, and that’s it. Only heard their voices. Later, they
took us to Izyum. There were police officers there, and just like the
border guards, they were astonished: “You are medics, why did they even
take you?” They brought us water, then some bread and tea, and locked us
up in a jail cell. From there we were sent to the Ukrainian State
Security (SBU) bureau in Kharkov. We waited in the car for a long time,
and a conversation with the guards started—even though that was
forbidden. But one of them said:

– I was born in Russia. I was there, on the Maidan, with the Berkut.
– You were in the Berkut? What are you doing here then?
– I kept my oath of service.
– To whom did you swear your oath?
– To the people.
– Well, I’m “the people,” and I’m sitting right here, in front of you, in handcuffs, with a bag on my head.
– But you’re a separatist.
– You know why I’m a separatist? Because when people stood on the
Maidan, I worked during the day, every day. And in the evening, I ran
home from work and switched on the TV to find out what was happening.
And then, when they started beating you guys with chains, when they
threw Molotov cocktails at you, I went to the rallies and I shouted… No,
I did not shout, “I want to join Russia!” I shouted… ‘Glory to the
Berkut! The police are the real heroes!’ We didn’t know how else to help
you. We just came to the rallies and shouted so that you would know
that we are with you, that you have our support. Now that you know this,
live with it if you can!

And when they were taking us away, he took my arm and he stroked it,
and then found my hand in handcuffs and shook it twice. That’s it.

MA: Is that handshake a dear memory for you?

LR: Let that be a dear memory for him! If he is
still alive, let him dwell on that! The Russian Ministry of Foreign
Affairs even asked the Kharkov SBU directorate about us. They were told
that we were not there. Because we were there illegally and without
paperwork. They fabricated allegations that my fingerprints—even
though they didn’t even take my fingerprints—were found on four grenade
launchers. It was only later that we started hearing in conversations:
“People are looking for them already.” That was pure joy—that somebody
is looking for us. Then they stopped beating us so badly. Solntsevo is
where my mum lives. It’s only about ten kilometres from the place we
were being held to the house where I was born.

pow3


A BEING WITHOUT ANYTHING

 
LR: Back then, we also gifted an amulet to one
Ukrainian officer. I don’t know if he survived the Starobeshevo
fighting, it was simply brutal later on there.

MA: Why did you give him the amulet?

LR: Because if it were not for him, we would have
been killed. There was some other battalion stationed around there. They
all talked in Ukrainian. And when that officer went to lunch, they came
up to us and started talking in a west Ukrainian dialect. The started
kicking us:

– You, fascist, you came to my land.
– My mother lives here! How far away is your house?!

The officer came back, saw what was going on, yelled everybody away
and posted his own guards to protect us. He stopped anyone from coming
up to talk to us. Had it not been for him, God only knows what would
have happened. I could have easily ended up raped or crippled, and it
seemed like that was about to happen. They were vicious. This was the
23rd or 24th of July, and from the 21st through to the 22nd they had
lots of friendly fire.

This is how it happened—they had a large unit in Kashty. This village
is so small that it’s not even marked on the map, but many of the
parents call me now to talk about it because that’s where their children
went missing. See—Lilia draws a diagram on a piece of paper—there
are a few residential buildings here, then there is a river, and then
that village. For some reason, they started shelling that unit from
there, and these guys started shooting back. It escalated so much, that
the whole place was burnt to cinders. I know this because we were thrown
into a shell crater, and I touched the ground around. That’s where the
strawberries used to grow– I’m local, I know. Now—only cinders!

MA: Why did they shoot at their own?

LR: Well, this happens quite a lot with them,
actually. Back then, it was mostly accidental, because everybody was
scared. Somebody would fire, and the mayhem would begin. At that same
time, the 95th Brigade was hit by friendly fire near Kramatorsk. They
would scare us, saying, ‘We will send you over to the 95th. They are
furious now—they will do you in.” That is what they said to me, word for
word. You asked me if I knew what they looked like. Yes, one of them I
could recognize. He was tall, with a nose like this—Lilia shows a hooked line.

MA: You are drawing the image of a Mephistopholes.

LR: He was very cruel. Very! He spoke in a pure west
Ukrainian dialect. But when we were sitting in the car, someone came
up, his voice sounded like he was a very young lad. He started shoving a
piece of chocolate into my hand: ‘Eat… eat…’ (in Ukrainian). He was
whispering, afraid that someone would hear him. “Eat… eat…”

MA: Did you think of yourself as a victim?

LR: Yes.

MA: Did you feel violated?

LR: Yes—I felt completely powerless. I felt like a being without any rights, without anything.

pow2

 

NOT AN ENEMY ANYMORE

 
MA: Did you regret your work?

LR: No. Of course not. I used to go to Seversk,
evacuating the wounded from the local hospital. I got there and there
was no electricity—we had to find the hospital in the dark. The nurse
called us from that hospital and asked that we pick up the wounded.
After we had already left, she called us again and said that half an
hour after our departure, the Nazis [fighters of the
Ukrainian National Guard –ed.] came to look for the wounded.
When we were taking the wounded to Donetsk, they couldn’t believe that
someone was able to come for them.

And two months later, the father of one of them called me and said:

– Remember the guy named so-and-so?
– Yes, I do.
– He was killed.

How can I regret anything? Although, yes, before all of this happened I had a good job, a cat and dogs.

MA: Where are they now?

LR: For a long time my house was in the occupied
territory. On the August 7, at night—there was still no electricity—I
visited home. I was there for seven minutes exactly. Met my mom. Patted
the dogs, the cat too, and left. The dogs refused to eat after this. The
cat followed suit. They all died. Now I don’t have any pets anymore…
Before, our family always served dinner at seven, on a pretty
tablecloth, with flowers on the table. I did not know then that I would
be able to sleep in tents, eat whatever we can find, in any condition.
Live without money. Live without makeup. Without all the things that
seemed essential before.

MA: In the past year, people here have seen unimaginable
horrors. Atrocities that don’t have a place even in the most
terrifying films. Why did it all happen?

LR: We, the people of the Donbass, are no more
important in the scheme of things than microbes, fleas! Who cares about
us? There are other forces at work here, enormous forces. Everything
happens when it has to happen. I think, after all is said and done, that
the Soviet Union was something good. People here don’t want
Novorossiya; they don’t want the Russian Federation. They want to return
to the Union.

MA: So as to at least recapture the ideas of equality and fairness, if not actually implement them?

LR: I am an obstetric nurse. I’ve been delivering
babies since 1985. I remember that a lot of the bad things about the
Soviet Union we found out after the USSR’s breakup. I delivered lots and
lots of babies. Time passed, and I was delivering the babies of those
whom I once delivered.

MA: And what do you feel now, when you pick up the pieces of those whom you, possibly, once brought into this world?

LR: I’ve seen a lot of dead people. Even when I see
strangers, it weighs on me heavily… We had a case recently. The mother
of one Haritonuk called. Her son went missing. Three days later, I
went to Logvinovo, there are these hills under the power lines. A
smashed tank stands there. This young lad from the Militia showed me a
gravesite. He buried a Ukrainian soldier there, in a shell crater. I
looked at it, and there, on the sign, it said, “Haritonuk.” We talked:

– Oh… his mum was looking for him…
– How old was he?
– I don’t remember. How old are you?
– I am twenty-one. I buried him.

So, while battle was still raging, he buried him in the shell crater.
He made a mound, found some sticks, tied them to make a cross, and even
made a board with the name and put a helmet on top.

– He is your enemy. But you did this. Why?
– Nope, he is not an enemy to me anymore. Will you tell me sometime how old he was?
– I will.

His mum called again. He was nineteen years old, this tank operator.

MA: So people don’t want to kill each other?

LR: Of course not. We brought prisoners for an exchange recently—Lilia starts a new story—and
brought the bodies of the dead to give them back too. There are these
narrow trenches at the Ukrainian checkpoint. I stepped out of the car.
It was dark. I almost stepped on the head of one of the soldiers. They
explained: “We weren’t told about the exchange.” I said, “hold on, I’ll
get someone on the line.”

So I tried to make a phone call, but there was no service. Meanwhile,
twenty of them already got out of the trenches, and were milling about
around me—they were curious. One lad comes up to me:

– Tell me, is it true that you have wounded children over there?
– Of course. Wounded, some lost their little feet, little hands, little eyes.
– You are not lying? Is that true?
– Yes, it’s the truth.

Then a car comes with our guys. I brought four of theirs, and they
had eight of ours. So they said: “No, then we will only give four
back.” You know, when I was lined up against a wall in front of a firing
squad, my hands weren’t shaking as much as they were then. It’s good
that it was dark and they couldn’t see it. I couldn’t accept this… They
were right there in front of me, standing with hands tied behind their
backs, with bags on their heads. If I could only take four, what about
the rest? I started bluffing as much as I could.

MA: How?

LR: I joked with one, hugged another. I said, ‘I
promised you three, and brought you the fourth one as a sign of good
faith. And you give me something in return!’ So when they gave us all of
them back, I wanted to leave as soon as possible, before they changed
their minds. I took the body bags myself, and was moving them to the
other car. Then I went to give back a flashlight I had borrowed from
them, and I heard the same kid, who spoke to me earlier, whisper in the
darkness:

– Tell me, what do I do now?
– Run! Run, while you are still alive. Run, run away from here!

This kid—him I will remember, this is a memory dear to me… What
will happen to the people from our side and theirs after the war? They
are like dogs that have tasted blood. Such dogs are very hard to deal
with later. With people it is even harder. Especially with women. Once a
woman takes up arms and starts to kill, she becomes very cruel and
dangerous. War becomes an addiction for her. I’ve seen women like this.

People ask me, “What if you had a gun back then?” I don’t know what I
would have done, but I feel like I wouldn’t have been able to kill. I
just wouldn’t be able to do it. They also tell me, “you have to hate
them.” Wait a minute… Why do I have to hate someone? I always try to
understand a person and understand why they do what they do.
People always make choices for a reason. Maybe they don’t understand
something, and maybe I don’t understand something… But I don’t feel
hatred.

===

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