News / Europe

Separatists March Ukrainian Prisoners Through Donetsk

  • Armed pro-Russian separatists escort a column of Ukrainian prisoners of war, left, as they walk across central Donetsk, Ukraine, Aug. 24, 2014.
  • Armed pro-Russian separatists, right, escort a column of Ukrainian prisoners of war as they walk across central Donetsk, Ukraine, Aug. 24, 2014.
  • Ukrainian prisoners of war sit in a bus after being escorted for a forced-march across central Donetsk, Ukraine, Aug. 24, 2014.
  • Captured Ukrainian army prisoners sit in a bus after they were escorted by Pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Aug. 24, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian rebel tries to stop a man who slaps a captured Ukrainian army prisoner they are escorting on central square in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Aug. 24, 2014.
  • A man throws an egg at captured Ukrainian army prisoners as they are escorted by Pro-Russian rebels in a central square in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Aug. 24, 2014.
  • Children holding a Russian flag pose for photos on a destroyed Ukrainian army Grad multiple rocket launcher system that was seized and put on public display at the central square in Donetsk, Ukraine, Aug. 24, 2014.
  • A man takes photos of destroyed Ukrainian army vehicles that were seized and put on public display at the central square in Donetsk, Ukraine, Aug. 24, 2014.
Pro-Russian Separatists March Ukrainian POWs Through Donetsk

Pro-Russian separatists marched dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war through the eastern rebel stronghold of Donetsk on Sunday in a parade meant to counter Independence Day celebrations in Kyiv.

Some bandaged, some limping, the men were marched up one of Donetsk's main streets and past the remains of Ukrainian armored personnel carriers destroyed in battle and put on display in the city's main Lenin Square.

Hundreds of people lined the street to see the largely disheveled and unshaven soldiers who walked with their heads bowed and their hands behind them, led by an armed woman in camouflage and flanked by men carrying Kalashnikovs.

“We are now able to watch passing people who were sent to kill us,” a voice said over the loudspeaker, mocking the soldiers as “victorious Ukrainians”.

“We are Russians,” the voice boomed to applause.

For days, separatists have prepared for the march, timed to coincide with Independence Day celebrations and a military parade in Kyiv where Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called for solidarity against the rebels.

Kyiv blames Russia for fanning the conflict by sending fighters and weapons to eastern Ukraine through rebel-held border regions. Russia denies it is involved in the conflict.

World War II event

Steeped in historical significance, the event was meant to recreate the forced march of nearly 60,000 German Nazi soldiers through the streets of Moscow in 1944 towards the end of World War Two.

Some on Sunday threw bottles from the crowd of men and women waving the Russian flag and the red, black and blue standard of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Poeple's Republic. Others shouted “fascists” and “murderers”.

In a theatrical gesture intended to show the captives were sullied, street cleaning vehicles moved behind them spraying water where they had walked, similar to what happened in Moscow in 1944.

Separatist rhetoric and Russian state-owned media coverage of events in eastern Ukrainian have evoked memories of World War Two, revered in Russia as the Great Patriotic War.

Ten armored personnel carriers and military vehicles, some of them still littered with bullets, were displayed on Lenin Square. One had a sneaker and a dirtied yellow cap inside.

“Today the Ukrainians have their Independence Day. But today we have our day of independence from them. They are attacking today, we are defending ourselves,” said a rebel.

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Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous
August 25, 2014 8:25 AM
Not "The rebels, who are fighting for an alliance with Russia" .. it is the people who are fighting for their homes, for their land, for their independence, for the right to speak their native language !!! Why do not you write as the Ukrainian army is killing innocent civilians? This is humane?

by: LO777
August 24, 2014 2:12 PM
That is the important information. Civilians of Donetsk really support pro-Russian separatists.People shouted at Ukrainian prisoners of war and called them “fascists” and “murderers”.
In Response

by: Michael from: S-Pb
August 25, 2014 1:15 AM
This is news to you?
In Response

by: Bruce from Ann Arbor from: United States
August 24, 2014 5:03 PM
The separatists have guns, clearly displayed. It is an open question how the civilians of Donetsk might feel if they were not under threat of force, and in particular how they might feel about being forced to participate in a violation of the Geneva Convention.

by: meanbill from: USA
August 24, 2014 12:49 PM
THE WISE MAN said it;.. "To end a war and bring lasting peace, I'd negotiate with the devil himself"..... and winter is coming and the war will still be going on, and one should remember what happened to the Napoleon and Nazi armies, when fighting a war in freezing winter weather..... (Ukraine, what you gain today, you'll lose in the cold of winter?)..... NEGOTIATE

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from a prolonged war"...... from the book, "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu
In Response

by: Mark from: Virginia
August 24, 2014 6:38 PM
One very glaring difference between what happened in 1812 and 1942 and today, in the Ukraine with winter approaching....
The French Army and the German Army were unsuited for winter operations in such climes, they were not acclimated to the intense cold of the Russian winter, they did not have the proper salves and clothing to combat the cold. The Ukrainians, however, are fully acclimated and conditioned to those temperatures. It is in that same region that forced both the French and the Germans to defeat due to the winter conditions. The same region where the Ukrainians now live.
There is no comparison between what happened 71 and 202 years ago to the present day. If nothing else, fighters from both sides of the struggle know what to expect as winter approaches, and can adapt to it, far easier than invaders did.

by: jack Dunster from: Lublin, Poland
August 24, 2014 12:45 PM
The act of parading captured soldiers - and hence, humiliating them, is contrary to the Geneva Convention. What you see here is a war crime - Please note as well that their hands are restrained - again, contrary to the Geneva Convention. Anyone seeing this video is seeing a war crime. This is the way Russians behave and this is why Ukraine must be supported.
In Response

by: Serge from: S-Pb
August 25, 2014 7:34 AM
It's better to be "contrary to the Geneva Convention", than to kill civilians and/or to be killed. Poles haven't rights to preach russians and ukrainians.
In Response

by: LO777
August 25, 2014 2:31 AM
People in Donetsk did not want to have an independent state, they just wanted to have a republic. But Ukrainian government sent their army to kill people.
The parade is not a war crime. No one was hurt. Ukrainian army is murdering civilians. It is a reall war crime. About 5000 civilians watched the parade. They know better what is going on there. All these civilians blamed Ukrainian army.
In Response

by: Michael from: S-Pb
August 25, 2014 1:18 AM
Bomb the civilian population is under the Geneva Convention? Do you remember it when it suits you.
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
August 24, 2014 5:30 PM
TRUTH BE TOLD... I don't believe the pro-Russian separatists are signatories of the Geneva or Hague conventions?..... but Ukraine is?

by: George from: USA
August 24, 2014 12:16 PM
You are evil Mr.Putin.
In Response

by: Michael from: S-Pb
August 25, 2014 1:13 AM
And here Putin? In Ferguson, then he is guilty?
In Response

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
August 24, 2014 10:23 PM
,.......well Obama is not Mother Teresa!

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