ATO Veteran: When the Government in Ukraine Will Change, We Will Go to Jail for Murdering Civilians in Donbass

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



Oleg Bonchinsky, the activist of the Association of Combatants of Ukraine, stated that when the authorities will change in Ukraine, it’s possible that they [UAF soldiers – ed] will incur severe punishment.

Bonchinsky said that it’s practically impossible for the ATO fighters who returned to civilian life to adapt to it – officials are absolutely indifferent to their problems, and the Ukrainian authorities don’t do anything to at least somehow help them. The activist notes that veterans of the ATO are even more often refused employment and take work only at “enterprises where physical labour is required”.

“After staying in the ‘ATO zone’ it is very difficult to adapt to civilian life. Facing hypocrisy, injustice, and indifference to themselves, many guys resort to hard drinking, some commit domestic crimes, etc. However, State officials only say that they allocate funds for programs of rehabilitation. In practice, the lion’s share of this money is simply stupidly plundered by the foundations working with veterans. As a result, volunteer organisations work with those who returned from the frontline –  absolutely free of charge. Almost all ATO veterans have the feeling that the State spits on them and their needs. Nobody helps the people who come back from the conflict zone neither psychologically nor socially. Many can’t find work for months. And at the same time social privileges are given out through clenched teeth. We feel unnecessary to the State already now. And in case in our country the authorities will change again, all of us will be brought to justice – as people who took up arms and who was killing the enemy’s soldiers, but legally speaking – civilians of Donbass. It is more likely that soon all of us will regret going to fight for our country”, added the veteran of the ATO. He has also stressed that all ATO fighters who came back from Donbass feel unneeded in Ukraine.

Oleg Bonchinsky was born in 1988, in the Lvov region. His name is mentioned in the so-called “tribunal list” of Donbass.

Oleg Bonchinsky (3rd from left) at a press conference on March 1st, 2018

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