- Sputnik International, 1920, 10.04.2022
Donbass. Genocide. 2014-2022
This special project was launched to shed light on what has happened in Donbass over the past eight years, with the aim to show not only episodes of crimes by the Kiev regime against the civilian population, but also to explore the roots of the disaster occurring in the region.

‘There Are People Here! Don't Shoot!’ Part Seven - The Diary of Volunteer, Evdokiya Sheremeteva

© Sputnik / Valeriy Melnikov / Go to the photo bankA resident of the village of Staromikhailovka, damaged by shelling in the Donetsk region 27.09.2015
A resident of the village of Staromikhailovka, damaged by shelling in the Donetsk region  27.09.2015 - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.05.2022
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We are publishing excerpts of a heart-rending and sometimes unbearably honest book – a diary by journalist and volunteer Evdokiya Sheremeteva, who throughout the eight years of the war brought humanitarian aid to Donbass, rescued the sick and wounded, and collected unimpeachable evidence of the shocking truth.
‘There Are People Here! Don't Shoot!’
4 January 2015
Diary
– Ira, don't cry! They're not shooting, you imagined it!
Food is being doled out in the kitchen and people have come with glass jars to a social canteen.
I approach women who work in the canteen and hand out packs of sanitary pads. The second woman I see, a friend of Ira's, bursts into tears.
– Thank you, sweety!
– Why ... How long ago was it that they opened fire?
– Yesterday, they fired Grad rockets, I think.
– So, is there a ceasefire or not?
They laugh … and then dissolve once more into tears.
– For God's sake, they know they're targeting us! Don't they have mothers and children?
– Despite the ceasefire, grandchildren sleep in their clothes, holding onto their documents.
My friend pokes me.
– As if you’re not sleeping with your clothes on yourself…
It’s impossible to get into Pervomaisk. The town is under a horseshoe siege, surrounded on all sides by Ukrainian armed forces and members of the National Guard. One needs to cross more than one checkpoint to get there from Lugansk.. If you are not a resident of the city, there is no way in. The road is closed. Rostislav, a handsome, tall militiaman, was the one who welcomed our humanitarian cargo.
– Rostislav, what’s your call sign identity?
– I don't have a call sign. I am Rostislav. Rostik. Born and raised here. I have nothing to fear. I freely put my address on social media and say, “Come and talk to me”.
Rostislav takes us to his car. I look down and see a grenade, wrapped in an iPhone extension lead, like a baby surrounded by an umbilical cord.
– Is it real?
He laughs.
– Here, take it. Look at the back.
I take it in my hands, and they are shaking. There is something very big in the back. Obviously bigger than a machine gun, I wish I knew what it was.
- My God, what is that?
Ruben says:
– An RPG-18 called “Mukha”
© Photo : Evdokiya SheremetevaHand grenade next to iPhone
Hand grenade next to iPhone - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.05.2022
Hand grenade next to iPhone
– Nah, that's an RPG-26. Let's go, I’ll show you what they've done to our town.
Rostislav nonchalantly smokes cigarette after cigarette. He is younger than I am, but makes me feel like a child. He has a clear, sharp look in his eyes.
I look out of the window, trying to find at least one house that hasn’t been damaged, where there are at least some windows that haven’t been blown out. I keep looking but can't find one.
– We've already restored a lot of that. See that roof? It was put on a few days ago. And here, you see? We've already put bags over the windows. We've already done a lot. But you can see what's going on ... And here's a shell hole. A family just went out to cook on the fire here ... And over there, a house, do you see it? The owner didn't even have time to jump into the basement, the door was left open and his remains are all over the place. Killed in one hit.
– Do you believe they did it on purpose?
– No, not on purpose. The shelling is imprecise.
– Do the spotters work?
– They used to, but not so much now.
– Are they trying to hit you, the militia?
© Photo : Evdokiya SheremetevaPervomaisk. December 2014.
Pervomaisk. December 2014.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.05.2022
Pervomaisk. December 2014.
– You know, we caught them. There are some good guys among them, real people. When they saw that they were not fighting the Russian army, but killing old people and children, many of them tried to escape. They were all brainwashed there that they were freeing people from Putin. And, in general they just hit the city indiscriminately. Schools, colleges, the Sports Palace – just about everything. The city is riddled...
– They have all been brainwashed. But there are some normal people. Once they shelled a field, so there is something human left in them. They can't disobey the orders, but they realise that with every cluster either someone dies or someone loses their home forever.
– Wouldn't it be better to leave the city? Is it worth hundreds of lives?
– I mean, they'll just kill or imprison half the people here. We're all "terrorists" here, like you don't know. We're not abandoning people.
Recently, after the announcement of a ceasefire, people started to bring salvaged shells right under the Lenin monument, in the centre of Pervomaisk. A trampled Ukrainian flag is lying next to it in the snow and mud.
© Photo : Evdokiya SheremetevaThe central square of the city of Pervomaisk. December 2014.
The central square of the city of Pervomaisk. December 2014. - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.05.2022
The central square of the city of Pervomaisk. December 2014.
People come to the monument and stand silently for a long time. Then they leave in silence. It’s a graveyard.
– We will make a monument out of it. So that everyone knows.
A couple of weeks ago, people didn't go outside at all.
– We came here to hand out bread. We called for people. And the people in the basement were shouting, “Throw it down here!” since they were too terrified to come out. Sometimes, when it was quiet, some survivors would run home to wash up and fetch their things. That is when a lot of people got hit ... Everybody stayed in basements and bomb shelters.
There are people on the streets now. But in general, the city feels like it is deserted. It's like Pripyat after the explosion. Many of the houses have "PEOPLE" written on them. There are people here...
We go down to the basement of an air-raid shelter; there are blankets everywhere. There is a potbelly stove in the middle. Mattresses, blankets, bales with belongings, canisters with water. As soon as people catch sight of a militiaman, they swarm around and start pestering us with questions. A friend of Rostik's, Alex, joins us. His call sign was "Speed". Alex, surrounded by women, was trying to hold the line.
– Do a lot of people live here?
When there is shelling, the basement is full. We live here now.
© Photo : Evdokiya SheremetevaA bomb shelter in Pervomaisk. December 2014.
A bomb shelter in Pervomaisk. December 2014. - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.05.2022
A bomb shelter in Pervomaisk. December 2014.
I see a separate room covered with rags. I pull them aside and there's a grandmother looking up at me with alarm.
– Are you here alone?
– The children left, and two shells destroyed my house. This is where I live now.
-Why don’t they take you with them?
-I don’t know. But I won’t leave. This is my home, and this is where I will die.
© Photo : Evdokiya SheremetevaPervomaisk. December 2014.
Pervomaisk. December 2014.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.05.2022
Pervomaisk. December 2014.
People live in these basements in communes. They eat and do everything together.
– At first people behaved terribly, says Rostik. – They took away the rations, they squabbled. They tried to steal for themselves. Now everything has changed. The war has taught people to be humane to others sharing their plight. Now we bring food: they pour the butter into cups, call each other. They share everything.
There’s a lad standing at a roadblock on the way out of town. He’s about 18 at most. We give him some candy and he smiles from ear to ear.
– Have you put up a Christmas tree in town yet?
– We have.
– So have we! It's New Year!
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