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THE SAKER BLOG
September 16, 2021
The official start of this project was August 11th in Pervomaisk and during the initial 3 days of opening of a mass grave near the Sokologorovka and Kiselesky neighborhood 21 bodies were dug up.
These are victims of Ukraine’s shelling of Pervomaisk center from July 27th to August 9th 2014.
According to LPR 1st Deputy Foreign Minister Anna Soroka who is the head of the interdepartmental group working on recovering the bodies, 40 victims have now been recovered of what they now believe might go as high as 80 in this single location.
In midsummer 2014, the Ukrainian army and specifically Donbas Battalion led by Semyon Semenchenko, moved to the outskirts of the city and opened fire indiscriminately hitting the center, apartment complexes, single-family homes, and even the hospital.
In general, when you see terms like indiscriminate, it tends to diffuse responsibility for the result and compare the results with accidental occurrences. At Pervomaisk and across Donbas this was and is the case when it comes to civilians being targeted with military weapons.
The siege of Pervomaisk shows the attack on civilians was so blatant Ukraine couldn’t cover up doing it, so instead it has tried to diffuse responsibility onto the victims themselves.
In June 2014 Sementchenko gave a speech on Maidan saying Pravy Sektor wasn’t dedicated enough to the work of cleansing the towns and villages. To him, Dimitri Yarosh’s Pravy Sektor was only common cowardly looters.
On July 26, 2014, Semenchenko and the Donbas Battalion announced on his Facebook page the assault on Pervomaisk was set to begin. He claimed civilians were out of the way and it was “separatists” who were being struck.
On July 27th Semenchenko announced “Fighting continues in Pervomaisk, Luhansk region, militants fire mortars at the city. The commander of a battalion of National guard “Donbas” Semyon Semenchenko reported about it. “Residents of Pervomaisk. Nothing is over yet. Don’t leave the basements. We’ll tell you when you can. Terrorists are hitting the city with mortars,” Semenchenko wrote on Facebook.”
Donbas Battalion was located at the city limits near the sign at the entrance to the city.
The militants firing mortars at the city, in reality, was LNR militia firing at Donbas Battalion at the city sign.
Semenchenko told LB.ua Donbas battalion fighters fired into Pervomaisk houses, but his intelligence claimed there were no civilians, only militia fighters.
In early July, Oleg Dube; one of Donbas Battalion's more committed volunteers fighting “separatists” had a falling out with Semenchenko because of the murder and cowardice displayed by the Donbas battalion in Nikolaevka. On his Facebook page on July 7th he wrote [that] when they entered Nikolaevka, there were only unarmed townspeople there. They knew going in there was no militia.
In his own words Dube describes a Donbas battalion filled with cowards shooting everything that moved and throwing grenades into the houses, cellars, and every structure killing everyone and everything they came across.
This is what the people of Pervomaisk faced in the attack from July 27th to August 9th in 2014.
Oleg Dube was arrested and detained in Izyumske. Later on, to make a point to the battalion, Semenchenko reportedly made Dube kneel in front of the battalion and urinated on him.
Semenchenko attested to the authenticity of Dube’s complaint himself by posting his answer to Oleg Dube. “Who is in the Military Prosecutor’s Office? In wartime such allegations are unacceptable. Moral strife in the battalion will not be tolerated.” Semenchenko went on to say if people believed what Dube was saying Ukraine would lose the information war.
It’s time for Ukraine to lose the information war. It’s time Kiev realizes all of these lives matter.
The head of funeral services for Pervomaisk, Olga Sirakoavskaya recalls Ukraine's army firing at the center of the city during this period.
“It was on these days that a spontaneous burial appeared in a place that was least exposed to fire. Well, of course, there were immediately those who died, and fragments, and there were a lot of wounded. At first they tried to take them to the hospital town, then (the Kiev security forces) began to hit the hospital town. Well, they broke it,”she recalls.
When the attack of Pervomaisk began in July 2014, first they used aviation and bombed the city. Then they switched to heavy artillery destroying civilian objects like homes, apartments, and stores, killing civilians.
The shelling was not just daily, but hourly. People could not leave their shelters to take a breath of fresh air.
The morgue and the forensic medical examination bureau in Pervomaisk were bombed so there was nowhere to bring the bodies.
People were forced to bury their loved ones in the courtyards of houses and in vegetable gardens.
The bodies found on the streets and which could not be identified were brought by the militia and the city ritual service were buried near the cemetery on the outskirts of Pervomaisk, said Anna Soroka.
Looking at the example of already opened mass graves, it is clear what condition people were buried in: in rags, bedspreads, carpets, polyethylene, with rare exceptions in coffins hastily knocked together from boards.
The now head of the Pervomaisk city government, Nikolai Tokarev was a witness to the events. Tokarev recounts that they buried the dead by wrapping bodies in plastic or blankets or whatever they had.
“They buried them to a depth of about 50-60 centimeters. If they managed to dig a standard grave, they buried them in two tiers,” he added.
“It can be seen with the naked eye (from Ukrainian firing positions) that it is the civilian population who died as a result of hostilities,” Anna Soroka, the chairman of the Interdepartmental Working Group recovering the bodies stated.
Anna Soroka noted that special attention is paid to the identification of criminals from among the military-political leadership of Ukraine and the composition of the armed formations of Ukraine, who gave and carried out criminal orders.
The working group noted that the collected information will be included in the evidence base of Ukraine’s crimes against the people of Donbas and the subsequent transfer of materials to the relevant international bodies to bring Ukrainian criminals to justice in the courts.
And the collection of records and information continues, which will contribute to the investigation, locating, and identifying victims of Ukrainian crimes from 2014 onward.
According to chairperson Soroka, in Pervomaisk, the initial records showed about 90 people were buried in this mass grave in 2014. Over time, relatives of the victims retrieved and reburied some of them.
She went further stating “in the field, an examination was carried out, material was selected for forensic examination and genetic research.”
After identification is made, the remains are given to their relatives for burial. Those not identified or waiting identification will be reburied at a dedicated memorial site.
Going forward, we are documenting the work as it progresses and will be featuring interviews, investigative work, and city and site-specific documentaries from across Donbas.
Kiev and Semenchenko must never be allowed to plead equivalence with the governments of LPR and DPR. There is none.
LPR exhumes over 90 victims of Ukraine in Pervomaisk
On August 11th, 2021, Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) and Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) embarked on a historic endeavor that will become national benchmarks in their existence.
Both countries began opening mass graves on their territories created by non-stop shelling and mortar attacks against their cities and people.
They proposed to locate the victims and identify them through genetic testing. Samples could then be matched with people searching for missing family members as the come forward.
At the same time, forensic teams are finding more evidence that Ukraine will have to address through a legal process in the future.
In Pervomaisk, it was originally thought they would find between forty and sixty of the ninety bodies buried at the site.
Over time, some families that knew exactly where their loved one was buried had come and reburied their loved ones with a proper funeral.
To the LPR and Pervomaisk officials behind the project’s shock, even with people claiming family members over the years, the official body count at this one mass grave site was over 90 victims of Kiev’s war crimes.
This is the first of 13 known mass grave sites in LPR and officials are already getting new leads to possibly even more.
Where is the accountability for the Ukrainian government for these crimes?
Over 700 people in their homes, at work, at school, and public spaces by Ukrainian military units.
Ukraine is still provably shelling civilians today.
Ukrainians should be horrified by the continued actions of their government. All it takes for this to be their day to day reality is to disagree with radical political ideas nationalist-activists in their government try to force on them.
After watching their leadership tearing down their own country and making it a joke among the nations for seven years, I doubt they’d argue seriously about this either.
In 2014, when these mass graves were filled, the people that fill them were from Ukraine. It’s time for Ukrainians to realize without radical change, Ukraine has no future.
The video following Marina Filippova’s statement opens up a side of this seldom heard in the west or by post-Maidan Ukraine. The same Public officials thrown into the leadership roles trying to protect their constituents from genocide open up and talk about what they were dealing with when it began in 2014.
On September 14, Advisor to the Head of the Lugansk People’s Republic, Filippova, Marina, Victorovna gave the following speech at the State funeral commemorating these victims of Ukraine at the cemetery in Pervomaisk, LPR.
Dear friends, we are gathered here today to give and fulfill the state’s and all our humane duty to record the crimes of the junta, Ukrainian junta that have no statute of limitations for which they should answer those that gave the criminal orders and sent the military to kill civilians residents of Pervomaisk.
And humane because no one should die a meaningless death because just because someone wanted them to.
Today, we will send them on their last journey in a Christian way as we must. This is done by people who know the cost of life and who know the value their lives had.
For me personally today, it’s a very significant day because you understand that we are not only manage to rebuild houses and bring to life our industries we find and accompany on the last journey those who must, well, must be buried humanely. What we do today once again confirms that residents of Donbass do not just have a heart, but they are people who understand the value of life and know how to live right in this life.
Those victims that were sacrificed seven years ago, they really are not in vain because each day they remind us all we are to do the right thing every day. We stand up for our independence. We will come to our Victory. We will definitely come and never again let people die, civilians die just because someone makes such unhealthy and stupid political decisions.
Eternal memory to those who died. And to those who fulfill their duty to the end- respect and honor.
As we follow this developing story together, we’ll investigate who did this and try to find answers together. This is a hallmark moment for Leonid Pasichnik’s administration. And one that’s needed by his people.
(Ed: We are experiencing a small problem with the sub-titles but it is only for the first 3 minutes of the video).
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^3000US citizens have no real political representation.
We don't live in a democracy. And our freedom is disappearing fast.
I don't want to be ruled by hypocrites, whores, and war criminals.
What about you? Time to push back against the corporate oligarchy.
And its multitude of minions and lackeys.
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