Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 08.06.2018
When Putin began his war against the Ukrainian people he promised that he would use ‘human shield’ terrorist tactics when he launched his attacks. At a press conference on 8 March 2014, Putin spoke about the orders he had given to Russia’s special forces soldiers who were invading and occupying Ukraine in Crimea. “We will be behind, not in front but behind … let them try and shoot at women and children,” is what Putin promised.
Putin has kept his promise, and has used Ukrainian civilians as human shields throughout Russia’s invasion, partial occupation, and ongoing warfare against Ukraine. Russian armed forces fire artillery and launch rockets from among the houses and apartment blocks of residential neighbourhoods of the towns which Russia occupies in eastern Ukraine. Using these ‘human shield’ terrorist tactics, the Russians are shooting at Ukrainian defenders and civilians on the free Ukraine side of the invasion battlefront, and they are also shooting back at their own positions, targeting Ukrainian citizens who are the captive population of occupied Donbas. Russia does this to terrorize the local population and to protect themselves from counter-battery fire from the Ukrainian armed forces: Russian terrorists know the Ukrainians will not shoot back when there is so great a risk of harm to their own people.
The Western press rarely mentions Putin carrying through with his promise to use Ukrainian civilians as human shields. If Russia’s war against Ukraine is mentioned at all, it is described with moral cowardice as the “conflict in Ukraine” or with malicious falsity as the “civil war in Ukraine.”
On June 7, Russia used its customary ‘human shield’ terrorist tactics to shoot from an area of settlement of Ukrainians in occupied Donbas to shoot at Ukrainian civilians in occupied Donbas. At around 10:30 in the morning, Russian occupation forces fired an 82-millimetre calibre mortar from a fortified position in the town of Donetskyi in Luhansk region – a place that is 45 kilometres west-north-west of Russian-occupied Luhansk city. The Russians were shooting from a location only about a hundred metres away from houses in the town of Donetskyi. The mortar was fired not north towards the battlefront and the defending Ukrainian armed forces, but south towards Holubivka, which is a town also in Russian-occupied Luhansk region. The mortar shell exploded in a road beside a “marshrutka” – a public transport minibus. Russian propaganda TV said that six people were injured, but a local resident said on social media that only the driver got hurt slightly.
The Joint Forces Operation (JFO) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine condemned the attack as a provocation and attack against the civilian population by the Russian occupation forces. The JFO believes that the Russians carried out the attack to attempt to discredit the Ukrainian army and to intimidate Ukrainian citizens. This is a well-founded belief, as Russian propaganda TV immediately put out a story that the Ukrainian army launched the attack. The propagandists planted a fragment of a 120-millimetre calibre artillery shell at the blast site, because the 82-millimetre calibre mortar shell the Russians actually fired could not possibly have reached Holubivka from where the Ukrainian army is positioned, which is north of Novotoshkivske about 6 kilometres away. The range of the 82-millimetre calibre mortar that struck beside the minivan is at most 3 kilometres.
Russia’s terrorist attacks against civilian targets was not limited to Luhansk region on June 7. In Donetsk region, the Russians continued to attack the Donetsk water filtration station and the workers who are trying to repair it. This facility for the treatment and provision of safe drinking water is located between Avdiivka in free Ukraine and Yasynuvata in Russian-occupied Donetsk region, right on invasion battlefront of the Russians. The Russians have shelled the Donetsk filter station 22 times so far in 2018. On June 7, the last Russian bombardment destroyed the power line to the facility, and it ceased operations. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Ukraine reports that 345,000 people on both sides of the battlefront are now without water. In carrying out the planned attacks on the Donetsk filter station, the Russians placed their guns in residential areas of Yasynuvata and targeted repair crews.
Russia uses ‘human shield’ terrorist tactics in its war against Ukraine. The Russian army hides behind Ukrainian civilians to shoot at Ukrainian civilians. The Muscovy invasion of Europe in Ukraine has been raging with such barbarism for well over four years. This is the nature of Putin’s War against the West