“They Aren’t People”: The Words Used by an ATO Militant to Justify Murdering Civilians in Donbass

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



Militants of the so-called ATO in Donbass murder supporters of the people’s republics, justifying their actions by saying that their enemies aren’t normal people. This was stated on the air of “Channel 5” by Lera Burlakova, who is a grenade launcher involved in the punitive operation [ATO – ed].

According to her, at the frontline there can even be joking around after a militiaman has been murdered.

“Everyone tries to think that they are not people there [in Donbass – ed] in general, and I am forced to admit that we succeed to do so. I.e., it’s not that they aren’t people because they are bad, but because you in general perceive this, maybe, like some computer game.

I remember that there was wonderful dialogue when we stood on Butovka [mine – ed], when we looked in the thermal imager how there some little person jumps out on the other side, we all do something, etc… well, somehow all of this happens absolutely normally, because in war you constantly laugh, you constantly laugh at absolutely unhumorous things. Here ‘Samurai’ [some UAF soldier’s callsign – ed] enters, looks at it and says: ‘We killed someone. What a joy’,” said Burlakova.

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