Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
“I address you officer to officer,” said the head of the Security Service of Ukraine Vasily Gritsak, addressing his penetrating speech to the Director of the FSB of Russia. “Even in the conditions of war there are rules that employees of special services mustn’t violate. You went beyond all limits that can be crossed. We both know that the employees of the special services of the Russian Federation are involved in the organization of terrorist attacks on the territory of Ukraine. Stop!”.
And I started to pick out in my memory episodes from my frankly rather poor experience of communication with Ukrainian “officers”. Here is the Lieutenant-Colonel of the National Guard near Mariupol who I met in the field camp hidden in the forest plantation: “I say to you as an officer that we will not fight against our own people”. Several days later, on May 9th, his subordinates shot unarmed people near the building of city department of the police.
And here is the captain-paratrooper from the Zhitomir 95th airmobile brigade in Andreevka, on the bridge leading to Slavyansk: “I state to you as an officer – we will not shoot at civilians”. Several hours later the “Zhitomir troops” will try to breakthrough, having opened fire from large-caliber machine guns. Killing 10 and wounding 40 people.
The major of the SBU from Kiev, who I knew since Maidan, in a telephone conversation gave me the officer’s word that the press photographer of MIA Russia Today Andrey Stenin is alive. And the only question is who to exchange him with.
In principle I have no illusions concerning Ukrainian officers. And after all that was seen in three years in Donbass it is awkward to listen from the head of the Security Service of Ukraine about some rules. Well, for example, to blow up Motorola in the elevator of a multi-storey house is by the rules?
Maybe Gritsak’s subordinates misinform their chief, and he has his head in the clouds of a parallel reality, where knights of a raincoat and a dagger wear white gloves and speak with unfamiliar persons on formal terms? It is unlikely. Kiev saboteurs are being caught in Donetsk and Lugansk with frightening regularity. He cannot but know about it. And if indeed Vasily Gritsak wants to talk as an officer, then it would be possible to begin with the employees of the Ukrainian special services, who Kiev sent to Crimea to blow up roads and electricity stations. Or from brittle Russian female journalists, who Kiev’s “knights” escort to the border as they as if they were a terrible threat to State security. Or from the secret jails of the SBU, which extrajudicially contain hundreds if not thousands of people, including citizens of Russia. It’s not I who invented it, Mr Vasily Gritsak, this is from reports of the UN, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch. Or all of this doesn’t “overstep the limits” of acts permissible for a Ukrainian officer? Then the conversation also turns out to be in different languages – not in a linguistic sense, but in a conceptual one. And in this sense there is nothing to speak about.
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