I ask who they blamed for the war. They blame Yanukovych; they want him to be hung. Many people are guilty but he is the main person.
I asked their opinion on the work of the OSCE:
Nothing good. They drive around here, but nothing changes. Before the ceasefire, when Ukraine would shell, the DPR military would respond and the Ukrainian side would stop shooting for a couple of weeks because they were afraid. Now, we are in a ceasefire; the Ukrainian side shoots whenever they want and no one holds them accountable."
We leave the couple in their six-year-long temporary basement home and drive back to the outskirts of Horlivka, to prepare to go to Zaitsevo, another heavily targeted area.
Some of the defenders of Zaitsevo were finishing their lunch break, so we sat and talked as they smoked cigarettes and drank tea. All were from the Horlivka area and married with children. They have been defending this position since 2015. Some used to work in a mine, one was a long-haul truck driver, and another worked restoring old buildings.
I asked them why they chose to fight.
"Because of the killing of people in Odessa. That's what made us join the military, to defend our area," one soldier said.
I followed with: "Are you aware of how Western media is portraying the war? What's your opinion?"
"I don't know exactly but I guess they depict us as evil men. No one cares about what we want," he said.
"What do you want?" I asked. He answered:
We want peace. We want to go back to our homes. Six years of war is too much for a person. We are friendly and peaceful people, we are happy to meet anyone, but without weapons. We remember the July 27, 2014 bombings, and other 2014 shelling, entire families killed. We remember all of them."
One of the soldiers turned the questions my way, asking: "How did Western society react to the use of Nazi symbols in Kiev and Maidan? What did Western society think?"
I replied: "Most people don't know, thanks to our media."
They then got to talking about the foreign weapons and equipment they've found from captured Ukrainian soldiers. Polish mortars, Bulgarian RPGs, Western machine-guns and reconnaissance equipment:
We found them in Zaitsevo. It's hard to find sniper rifles, you generally don't capture a sniper. But a lot of photos have been published by stupid soldiers from that side. They're using Western sniping rifles."
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