Latvian Journalist Surprised by What He Saw in Ukraine
Monday, 15 September 2014, 07:23
(Translation from Latvian by William Risch, Georgia College)
War correspondent Atis Klimovičs, who spent over two weeks near the front lines in eastern Ukraine, reveals that there is a growing desire among Ukrainians to join military forces and that patriotism is rapidly rising in Russified cities.
In an interview for the Latvian Television program, “De Facto,” Klimovičs said that Ukrainians are skeptical about Western states’ sanctions against Russia, claiming that there have been no results from them. “There is no anger toward Western states, but they are baffled by them,” he said. “Many (Ukrainians) say, “We don’t need soldiers, we have a lot of soldiers, but we need arms.”
Klimovičs indicated that he was very close to the Anti-Terrorist Operation front lines in eastern Ukraine when he met soldiers there. “They said that they are very poorly equipped,” he said. “And that’s their government’s fault. There is a popular view in the Ukrainian press that President Petro Poroshenko did not tell the truth (to Western states during the NATO summit). The government’s position isn’t clear.”
Right now a lot of people have expressed a desire to join volunteer battalions and help Ukraine’s army. “Defending their own state is a very serious choice,” says Klimovičs, who also added that no one in Ukraine imagined that a large-scale war could happen.
The journalist also claimed that he was amazed by the mood in many of the Ukrainian cities he visited. “I was very surprised by the mood in Odesa, which is a bright, open city. They (Odesa residents), where many of them (are Russian speakers), they have become great patriots of Ukraine. In the Odesa battalion (which is fighting the separatists), most of the soldiers are Russian by nationality.”
Klimovičs mentioned yet one more interesting detail that the governor of Kharkiv Oblast told: if half a year ago you could see cars with Russian flags and St. George ribbons on them, now, you wouldn’t think anything like that would be possible.