Compared to 2014, today the Ukrainian army is ready to face the Russian aggression – this is acknowledged by TV3 News officials of both the army and other facilities.
Continuing a series of reports from the east of Ukraine, we are visiting a former Ukrainian militia building where Ukrainian freedom fighters were brutally tortured eight years ago.
“If we passed 2014, when the army was neither clothed nor clothed, there was practically no army at all. Now, seeing what the army is like – there is peace, we can face it. At Yanukovych’s army in general, many young people are now joining the army, wanting to protect their land. “
This is the priest of the patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Chaplain of the Army Dionysius. He talks about the ability of the Ukrainian military to confront the aggressor in 2014, when he barely escaped death. We travel with him to a place where in 2014 the priest was subjected to cruel torture.
This is a former militia building after the 2014 Russian invasion of these cellars. Moscow-funded terrorists tortured people who fought against Russian aggression and tried to destroy their country. The chaplain was held in these basements, beaten and tortured for several days, and he remembers the events of that time with horror – the only thing he saw through the small basement windows as corpses of Ukrainian freedom fighters were thrown into the yard of the former militia building. The reason why priests were imprisoned in these cellars was that members of his congregation took part in the self-esteem revolution in Maidan.
“I came here as a pastor in 2013, at the beginning of the year, the members of the congregation who come to our congregation regularly – they all have a supportive position in Ukraine, and when the Maidan took place in the central independence square at the end of November 2013, my congregation there. drove, supported the country, people, provided medical assistance to the injured. After what happened after Maidan, the war started here – me and three more people were gathered and brought here, this cellar, where I will bring you and show you, ”says Dionysius.
“The way you go in these cellars is always hard, there are special feelings, energy, the pulse speeds up, I have already led many here, so I have already adapted, reconciled, but also every time I feel discomfort in my soul. Of course, they mocked – beaten, beaten, tortured, questioned us every two hours – and punished me for suspecting me of recruiting people to Maidan and paying for it, ”says the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. priest of the patriarchate.
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Many dozens of people were killed here, and those who managed to survive after mindless torture had the opportunity to close the door only with a signed statement that they would never return to the city.
The priest says that even today there is a feeling that the war is breathing, but Ukraine has changed, now ready to face Russian aggression.
“Ukraine has changed, the army has changed, people’s attitude towards their country has also changed, if compared to 2014, 2015 and 2016, then now our army is much stronger. As an army chaplain, I am convinced that we will be able to resist if, God forbid, there is any interference in our country, ”emphasizes the priest of the Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The events of eight years ago have left vivid and disturbing memories for everyone here in the Eastern regions. Also to the local Donetsk district police leadership.
“2014. I was in Donetsk in the summer of 2006, but when the situation escalated, I was sent to Mariopol, the army of the Russian Federation had besieged the whole city. Feelings were different, fear, ignorance, anger and at the same time pride for our people. 19 of my colleagues were killed by Russian forces at the time, and dozens more were injured. ”
Even now, the region is home to increased security – every dozen kilometers of checkpoints – the army controls everyone who enters – leaves, and our vehicle has been stopped. Nearly 300 identity cameras have also been installed. Law enforcement officers – all force structures are on standby.
“For eight years now, the Ukrainian army has been ready for possible aggression by the Russian Federation, including a military invasion of our territory. We are aware of the situation, we understand that it can happen at any time. We also know clearly that separatist activities would not be possible in the occupied territories of our region without the support of the Russian Federation, they are not ordinary people, they are Russian-trained, armed militants who carry out orders. The situation on the contact line is tense, but unlike in 2014, we are ready for it. ”
In the streets of Mariopol, we also meet a young man who has fled the separatist-controlled part of the Donetsk region due to hostilities. She says – the Ukrainian side is safer.
“I have come here from the occupied territory, it is relatively safe here, it is even worse at home. There, the situation is changing rapidly, there are days when it is calm, there are days when shooting – you never know anything, ”says Victoria, a resident of Mariupol.
The locals believe in the ability of their national army to protect the country – but of course there are fears here.
“Our city is no longer so dangerous, the army is guarding us from all sides, there are checkpoints everywhere, I think that even if they try to invade, everything will be fine,” says Artyom, a resident of Mariupol.
“It is incomprehensible, everything is incomprehensible, nothing is expected,” says Aleksandrs, a resident of Mariupol.
“I want it all to end sooner, for it to be resolved, for nothing to happen again, for people to live in peace and welcome the New Year. We want everything to be fine, ”says Ludmila, a resident of Mariupol.