Five Years Since the Bloody Provocation in Mariupol

Who actually opened fire at Mariupol is being remembered less and less every year

January 24th 2020 marked five years since the provocative shelling of Mariupol by Ukrainian “cyborgs“, although it is strictly forbidden to talk about it in the city. The official version of events, which has been repeated for all five years and which even some Mariupol residents probably already believe, is this: the district of Vostochny in Mariupol was fired upon by “terrorists” of the DPR. And that’s all. There can be no other versions of events.

Probably, in the rest of Ukraine controlled by Kiev, no one especially ever doubted who did it. Who else could have fired at a neighbourhood on the outskirts of which the Ukrainian checkpoint was located is a question that does not require an answer.

And only Mariupol residents saw and heard “Grads” flying over the city – there, where they could not travel to, if to follow the official version of events, “Grads” were supposed to fly from the Donetsk steppe, from the east.

However, everything started a little earlier, not on January 24th, but on the 13th, when a passenger bus was shot near Volnovakha, broken parts of the door of which Poroshenko traveled around Europe with. At this time, Kiev already understood that “cyborgs” will leave the Donetsk Airport, which would become a tragedy of a national scale for Ukrainians who in the beginning of 2015 were in a nationalist frenzy. There was a need to distract the people.

But the bus – it was, according to the Kiev authorities, not large-scale.

On January 15th the flag of the DPR was raised over Donetsk Airport, and on January 21st the remnants of the “cyborgs” withdrew to Avdeevka and Pesky. That was all, and the Airport was finally taken over by the “separatists”. Kiev urgently needed a distraction. This is the background to the Mariupol tragedy on January 24th 2015.

The night prior the police unit on duty, located in the district of Vostochny, which, as it is clear from the name, is on the eastern edge of the city (after – steppe and the front line), was suddenly surrounded with sandbags. Very thoughtfully and carefully. But none of the locals gave this importance – the war was still going on very nearby. On the morning of January 24th (it was a Saturday) at 8:00 the electricity was cut off in the neighbourhood, which also surprised no one: interruptions in electricity were a norm of life in Mariupol. After another 10 minutes, the Internet connection also disappeared, and soon after the gas and heating was turned off. Back then the mayor of the city Yury Yuryevich Khotlubey was very prudent – he made sure that big breakdowns did not happen. It’s interesting – did he know about the upcoming tragedy? Mariupol residents suspect that he knew. It is unlikely that the order to disable communications came from Kiev – there, on the contrary, they would prefer a much more powerful tragedy. On the ground – in the boiler rooms, without suspecting anything strange, the order was fulfilled. After that, Ukrainian soldiers left the checkpoint, located on the border of the micro-district and steppe, in an organised manner. That was all. The stage for the bloody performance has been fully prepared.

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And at 9:15 a.m. “Grad” fell on Vostochny, with the market at the epicentre, considering it was a Saturday morning…

That day 31 people were killed and 117 were injured.

Probably, all the listed facts of the micro-district territory being prepared for shelling (however cynical it sounds) are enough so that there is no doubt who was the conductor of this performance. And if at first there was an assumption that Ukrainian “Grad” simply did not reach the frontline and accidentally due to a calculation errors landed on the neighbourhood, soon there was no doubt – it was a carefully prepared provocation. And local residents did not doubt that the “Grad” flew from Stary Krym, Talakovka, and Vinogradnoye, controlled by the UAF. It was especially seen in video recordings filmed from the 7th-8th-9th floors, because the neighborhood is after all built up with nine-story buildings. But today there is no trace of these videos on YouTube – all of them were removed.

The OSCE, which immediately appeared at the scene of the tragedy, instantly issued the “needed” conclusion, although conclusions require calculations and time, which also raised additional questions.

A few days later, the SBU proudly reported that the “fire corrector” had been caught and that“the terrorist group that fired at Mariupol had been destroyed”.

The SBU did not explain why a corrector was needed to shell an entire district. And millions of Ukrainians across the country just believed the TV.

While Mariupol buried the dead and sealed the damaged windows with film, violent activities developed in Kiev. On January 24th the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (at that time Pavel Klimkin) made a loud statement – that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs “is working on convening emergency meetings of the UN Security Council, the Council of Ministers of the EU, the Permanent Council of the OSCE, and consultations within the framework of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council.”

The Donetsk People’s Republic tried to object.

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“Militia forces in the Mariupol area have no artillery systems capable of firing at the area in question. From our positions to the specified place it’s too far (for the militia’s equipment). According to our information, the fire came from the area of Stary Krym. There are Ukrainian troops there. According to the information that we have now, we can assume that it is a provocation of the Ukrainian security forces,” said at the headquarters of the DPR militia.

But nobody listen to them.

The following day, a meeting of the NSDC of Ukraine was held, during which the government was instructed to “start the procedure for applying to the Hague Tribunal for Crimes against Humanity and for the recognition of the DPR and LPR as terrorist organisations”.

A day later, on January 26th, Kiev hosted a briefing given by the head of the SBU on “crimes against humanity”, and on January 27th the Verkhovna Rada adopted a statement recognising Russia as an aggressor country.

And on the same day, Petro Poroshenko, speaking on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, said that “war threatens all of continental Europe, and by capturing Ukraine, Russia will continue to move forward”, and called on the whole world to help Ukraine “defend Europe”.

Thus, the provocation in Mariupol solved many tasks – attention was diverted from the surrender of Donetsk Airport, Russia was officially called an “aggressor country” in Ukraine, and a new round of anti-Russian hysteria started. And Europe was clearly shown what can happen to it if it does not right now give more money to Ukraine, which will protect this Europe.

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Five years have passed. In the east there is a monument to the dead, near which every year on the day of the tragedy there are ceremonial events. And there are the obligatory words about “aggressor Russia”. This has been heard for five years. And some have started to believe it…

Roman Katerinchuk

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