ER Editor: Former US serviceman, Patrick Lancaster, appears to live somewhere in The Donbass area with his family (they were recently evacuated). He delivers daily reports uploaded to his Youtube channel. Below are three videos he recently put out based on interviews with residents of Mariupol and the surrounding area.
We remind readers that it is the Donbass (the predominantly ethnic Russian area of Ukraine, on the far-eastern side) where atrocities have been happening more or less continuously since 2014 by Ukrainian forces against fellow Ukrainians. French journalist Anne-Laure Bonnel cannot even get her documentary on this topic broadcast by mainstream French media, such is the censorship of the Donbass region. The kind of reporting we see below, however, is not exactly surprising given what we know about the neo-Nazi Azov battalion, which uses the port of Mariupol as a base.
Taking an aggregate of the reporting here, it seems that the Ukrainian military simply don’t care about the locals, neither shooting them nor giving them aid. Rather, it seems to be the Azov battalion who put residents in clear danger, using their buildings as shields when necessary or shooting at them on the street for simply trying to survive in bombed-out areas. It isn’t clear who is giving humanitarian aid to the locals, but it was the Russians who set up a local camp for women and children.
Lancaster films in a residential area around Mariupol, just near the ‘border’ between the DPR (Donbass) and the rest of Ukraine, a demarcation point where Ukrainian soldiers along with the Azov battalion (neo-Nazi) stay on one side, with ‘DPR’ or Russian troops on the other.
Mariupol is a port on the Sea of Azov and the Donbass’s main access to the sea. It is thus an area where the Azov battalion is concentrated.
In this video, Lancaster visits a nearby camp in the Mariupol area that DPR (Russian) forces have set up for local residents whose apartments and homes are destroyed. Women and children are being taken care of with heat, food and lodging and a kindergarten-cum-school while men have to take care of themselves, sleeping in cars, distributing food, etc. Their area of Mariupol has essentially been destroyed and there are no homes to go back to. Many are part of a registration process where they can leave, to go to relatives, to Russia, to Europe, etc. The shelling and shooting was particularly bad between March 1 and March 24. The Ukrainian side basically left them alone, calling them ‘heroes’; it was the Russian side who set up the camps. Meanwhile, the Azov neo-Nazis turfed some of the residents out of their homes, using them as cover, knowing that the Russians wouldn’t shoot on civilian buildings. These residents went downstairs into building basements, often with up to 160 people in one enclosed area. If they went outside to cook food or boil water as they had to, they risked getting shot. This according to witnesses Lancaster speaks to.
There’s a The Exposé report that goes with this video, titled
Ukrainian Forces Want to Surrender and Azov Forces Started Shooting At Them – They Are At War With Each Other
Lancaster goes to Sartana, a small Greek village around 10kms east of Mariupol. (Apparently, there are many Ukrainians of Greek ethnicity along the southern coast for historical reasons.) Russian forces have been through this area and taken it, having arrested a local informant along the way. There seems to be more testimony that the Azov battalion works independently: Ukrainian soldiers got messages to surrender safely, but when some of them tried to do so, members of the Azov battalion came in and shot them. Azov are far more likely to be the ones who hold locals hostage and/or shoot them according to residents of the area. Humanitarian aid has come into a local school, although it’s not clear who has provided it. The school is sheltering about 100 people presently. It had been used just for several hours by the Azov battalion, from which they fired on Russian forces thereby rendering the school a ‘military’ target.. Then they quickly departed, leaving the school open to Russian fire. The 2nd storey of the school, once fully functioning, is now destroyed.