The good, the bad and the ugly

How life has changed in three years in oc­cu­pied and lib­er­ated Don­bas

The Ukrainian Week - - POLITICS - Denys Kazan­skiy

On April 12, 2014, a group of sabo­teurs led by GRU of­fi­cer Igor “Strelkov” Girkin en­tered Slo­viansk in Donetsk Oblast —the same group that had taken part in the an­nex­a­tion of Crimea. That day was the start of a bloody mil­i­tary con­flict in Don­bas that con­tin­ues to this day. Later on, Girkin con­firmed in one of his in­ter­views that it was he and his gang that got the war go­ing: “I’m the one that pressed the trig­ger of war. If our group had not crossed the bor­der, every­thing would have ended up the way it did in Kharkiv and in Odesa. A few dozen dead, burned or ar­rested. And that would have been that,” he proudly re­called the events of spring 2014.

To­day, those liv­ing in the oc­cu­pied ter­ri­to­ries con­trolled by “Donetsk Peo­ple’s Repub­lic” and “Luhansk Peo­ple’s Repub­lic” (“DNR” and “LNR”) mili­tia can only envy Kharkiv and Odesa, whose res­i­dents look in hor­ror at what is go­ing on in Luhansk and Donetsk.

Once con­sid­ered the lo­co­mo­tives driv­ing Ukraine’s econ­omy and lay­ing claim to a unique role in the state, these two eastern oblasts are now di­vided by front­lines and bor­ders, de­stroyed by shelling and buried in a deep de­pres-

Come and go. Some sep­a­ratist war­lords that started the blood­shed in Don­bas in 2014 have been liq­ui­dated. Some, such as Igor “Strelkov” Girkin (pic­tured first) have fled to Rus­sia

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